Bergen County Board of Commissioners Podcast with Table to Table
Commissioner Amoroso is joined by Table to Table Vice President of Operations Julie Kinner to discuss a great initiative to provide turkeys to those in need during the holidays.
Transcription of Audio
Welcome back to the Bergen County Commissioners Podcast, where we discuss the wonderful programs and events that we have in our county. And now over to today’s host.
Mary: Hi. I’m Bergen County Commissioner Mary Amaroso, and this is the Bergen County Commissioner’s podcast. Well, we’re coming up to Thanksgiving season, and I know food distribution effort are ongoing. We commissioners were in Dumont for a food distribution for the needy just this week. Today we are joined by Julie Kinner, who is the vice president of operations for Table to Table, which has a new Thanksgiving initiative, which you can access through their I Rescue food app. Believe it or not, you can do this through an app and you can donate. So I’m going to start you back from the beginning. Julie, how are you?
Julie: Very good, thank you. Thank you so much for having me and allowing me to speak about Table to Table and about the I Rescue app, which we are so excited about.
Mary: Yeah. Okay, so let’s start with Table to Table, which is a great organization. You’ve been in business since 1999, right? Isn’t that crazy?
Julie: Yes. And since then, we have rescued and delivered the equivalent of 227,000,000 meals and rescued about 74,000 tons of potentially wasted food from landfills.
Mary: Okay, so tell me how this works. And we’ve been much more aware of it for some reason this year. God bless you. So when you’re rescuing food, where are you rescuing it from?
Julie: We have seven refrigerated trucks, and they work out of Bergen, Hudson, Essex, and Pasaic counties. And we’re picking up from Acme, from Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, all of our local well known grocery stores. We’re picking up from places like Hello Fresh and Marley, Spoon, Driscoll, places that distribute food, places that would have food that could potentially be wasted. And they’re donating it to us. And then we are delivering it to over 200 places that are feeding the hungry within the four counties, all Bergen, Hudson, Essexam, Pasaic.
Mary: That’s great. And you’re doing it year round, but Thanksgiving is a particularly sensitive or highly accorded season, right?
Julie: Yeah, absolutely. During the holidays, we always say we’ll meet people 365 days of the year, but during the holidays is certainly a time when we really get a lot of asks. A lot of agencies that we haven’t worked with before, a lot of individuals that we haven’t worked with before are reaching out looking because they want to be able to celebrate the holidays like everyone else does. They really would like to be able to sit at a table that has nourishing food turkey and all the incredible sides that we all know what Thanksgiving brings to mind sweet potatoes, mash, whatever. And they want to be able to do the same, and there is no reason they shouldn’t be. They absolutely should be able to sit down to something wonderful with their families during the holidays.
Mary: Okay, so you got an app for this by the way, this initiative is called the Great Bergen County Turkey Take, right? And you can participate in this as a regular person via your app. You have a food app which is called I Rescue.
Julie: We do. We have this incredible app that we launched the end of April. The app was through Food Rescue Hero, which is actually a group that help us establish the app. And then Bergen County and the Russell Berry Foundation actually helped us to launch it as well. It allows us to connect volunteers with donors, with recipients. You can download the app. It is iOS, as well as whatever the other one is. I always forget what the two are, but go on the app.
Mary: Google Play. Google Play. Google Play.
Julie: Thank you. I know my teenagers are now rolling their eyes.
Mary: I know the feeling, but yeah.
Julie: So you can go on the App Store, download table to table, I Rescue, and you fill it out. It’s very simple. You register yourself and you allow notifications. When there is a rescue within your area, a notification will pop up on your phone and tell you, we’re picking up today at Mivo Farms. And if you’re able to, you go you pick up and you can claim the rescue. Go pick up and then deliver it to a local agency. The directions are so clear. It gives you maps, it gives you contact people, it gives you who to text, who to call. It’s just so fun. I actually just did one this morning. I picked up from Panera in Northvale and I delivered to St. Andrews Church in Westwood where they give out food and clothing. And it’s simple and it’s just really fun to do. I feel very techy when I do it, which is very cool. And the turkey Take is something we have always wanted to be able to do, something very holiday ish. We’ve always wanted to do something where we could involve more volunteers around the holidays. And this app is now allowing us to be able to do that. If you a lot of people are getting a free turkey these days, shop, right? And Shoprite is giving them a free turkey or a ham, and many times it just sits in their freezer because they’ve already purchased a turkey or for whatever reason they don’t use it. We’re giving now the opportunity. If you have that extra turkey, reach out to us. You can reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and say, I’ve got a turkey to donate. If you are interested in doing the donation yourself, doing the rescue yourself, we can put you into the app. Then you’ll get a notification saying you’re all set, and we’ll tell you where you can deliver it to. If you’re not comfortable with it and you just want someone to do that for you, certainly we can send a volunteer to you to pick up the turkey and then to make the donation for you. It’s simple. I’ve said this before, but donating a turkey is so much more gratifying than donating something like a can of soup. While the soup is fantastic, especially as it’s getting colder, when you’re donating a turkey, you’re really giving so much more. You’re giving a large amount of protein that the family can feast on for potentially a couple of days, depending on the size of the turkey and the size of the family.
Mary: Right. And they’re easy, their sense of ease with all those leftover turkey recipes.
Julie: Right, absolutely.
Mary: Okay. One of the ways you can do it is under the I Rescue Food app.
Mary: But also you can did you say text volunteer?
Julie: Yeah, you can email email@example.com or who should you call if you are not technologically? Yeah, they can reach out to Andrea Ibera. So let me of course, I don’t have her phone, so Andrea, you can reach out to Andrea. She’s at 551-25-5684. And Andrea is our app manager and our source manager as well. And so she can absolutely set it up for you. She can easily set up either a volunteer to come in and pick it up, or she can let you know where to go to deliver it again. It’s satisfying donating something like that any time of the year, but during the holidays, it’s really something special.
Mary: And do you have a sense of how many frozen turkeys you expect to be rescuing?
Julie: We really have no idea. This is the first year we’re doing this, so any donation to us is a success. Yeah, we make it easy. I think it’s a great thing because I was just reading one of my friends on Facebook saying, well, I have my turkey from last year that has been frozen, so I thought I’d better cook it so that I have room for the new frozen turkey.
Mary: Right. So this is a great way to use those turkeys that you get from shoprite, et cetera.
Julie: Absolutely. Yeah. Right.
Mary: Okay. And the other thing we should point out that you also accept regular cash donate, correct.
Julie: Absolutely. We wouldn’t be a charity if we didn’t.
Mary: There you go. Absolutely. So if you want to donate cash, how does one do bitcoin?
Julie: Go to our regular website, and the information for the app is also on the regular website, but they can go to www.tabletable.org. And that will absolutely. They can click donate now. They can really look at their stories. There’s photographs. There’s so much on the website to give any more information. To give much more information.
Mary: I want to thank you, Julie Kinner of Table to Table, for all you and your folks do all during the year and especially at this holiday season. Thank you.
Julie: Thank you so much, Commissioner, and have a beautiful Thanksgiving.
Mary: Okay, thank you. Take care. Bye. Thank you for listening to another Bergen County Commissioner’s podcast. If you have any ideas for future podcasts, please email podcast at co bergen, NJ us.
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