Serious food rescue operation underway in Wellesley

Wellesley’s 3R Working Group — which consists of representatives from the Department of Public Works, the Sustainable Energy Committee, and the Natural Resources Commission — has united with the Environmental Protection Agency/New England and the Cambridge-based non-profit Food For Free to develop a collaborative food rescue initiative with vendors that provide food service at local school K-12 schools and universities. Food rescue refers to repacking leftover food, such as from school lunches, for those in need, including people living in shelters or receiving Meals on Wheels.

Program participants include Wellesley Public Schools, Babson College, Bentley University, Olin College of Engineering and Wellesley College. More than 4,000 pounds of food have been donated since September from Bentley, Olin and Wellesley Middle School; the program was rolled out in the other schools in recent weeks. Other local organizations with serviceable leftover food will be encouraged to join, too.

One of side benefit that stems from food waste donation programs, according to the EPA, is that organizations that donate food see new opportunities for reducing leftovers. The donation process creates an informational feedback loop for waste generators that reduces both
their wasted food, and their food waste removal costs.

As the 3R Working Group recruited local colleges for this program, conversations with MassBay Community College, located in Wellesley, revealed that 52% of the students surveyed there indicated they were insecure about food. Food For Free is now working with MassBay to develop a program for these students to receive food from the Food For Free Family Meals program.

For more information, go to https://wellesleyma.gov/811/4282/Waste-Wise-Wellesley or contact Marybeth Martello, Administrator, Wellesley Sustainable Energy Committee at mmartello@wellesleyma.gov or 781-431-1019 x2229.

MORE: So how’s the Wellesley food waste pilot program going, Supt. Azano-Brown?