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Never underestimate the power of kids and the force for good they can be.

More than 100 second-graders from Anna C. Scott Elementary School in Leonia donated 665 lbs. of fresh fruits and vegetables to Table to Table during a special assembly recently — enough food for dozens of individuals to enjoy.

The kids thought of Table to Table while developing a way of how they could have a positive impact on those around them. At first, they were just going to create posters about the need to donate food to a local nonprofit. But they realized they wanted to do more. They wanted to actually give something. They contacted Table to Table after researching local food-based nonprofits and connected with our mission of rescuing nutritious food to help feed our hungry neighbors.

“It became so much bigger than I anticipated it would. The students were amazing. I’m so proud of them,” said Vanessa Franceschini, a second grade teacher at the school.

Table to Table brought the produce to Never Alone Again Resource Center, a nonprofit domestic violence resource organization in Teaneck, where it was immediately distributed to community members.

“I’m so thankful for Table to Table because they are one of our main sources of fresh produce, vegetables and fruits, that our families can have right away,” said Theresa Johnston, CEO and Founder of Never Alone Again.

25 Million Pounds — And Counting

This rescue bring us closer to meeting this year’s goal of rescuing 25 million lbs. of nutritious food. For more information about Table to Table’s Drive for 25 initiative, visit https://tabletotable.org/drive-for-25/. Together, we can reduce food waste in our home and make a positive impact on the planet.

Related

Table Talk Episode 3 With Dr. Laurel Kearns

Q & A With Table to Table’s Julie Kinner

Dr. Laurel Kearns of Drew University in New Jersey appears on this episode of Table Talk.

For this episode of Table Talk, Table to Table’s Volunteer Manager Stephanie Conley-Webb interviewed Dr. Laurel Kearns of Drew University. Dr. Kearns is associate professor of sociology of religion and environmental studies at Drew.

“What we don’t think about is what happens to what doesn’t get eaten. A tremendous food waste is that we only want to buy perfect things so things that aren’t perfect, just a generation or two ago would have been gladly eaten don’t even make it to our stores,” Kearns said.

For more Table Talk episodes, visit our YouTube channel.

As New Jersey’s first and largest food rescue, our mission is to reduce food waste and provide nourishment to our food-insecure neighbors throughout North Jersey. We rescue millions of pounds of fresh food annually that would otherwise be wasted and deliver it to partner organizations who support the nearly 1 million people in our area who need it most.

Together, we can reduce food waste in our home and make a positive impact on the planet. Every little bit of effort—no matter how small–leads to change.  

Related

Q & A With Table to Table’s Julie Kinner

Latest Blogs

Michael Joyce, Table to Table's April Volunteer of the Month

Join us in congratulating Michael Joyce, Table to Table’s April Volunteer of the Month.

Michael has been volunteering with Table to Table since February of 2023.

“I love volunteering because it affords me the opportunity to provide service to those in need and to show appreciation for all the good things that have come into my life,” Michael said.

Now that you know who the April Volunteer is the Month is, you may be asking yourself: How do I sign up to volunteer? It’s easy!

Julie Kinner, Table to Table’s VP of Operations, gave an overview of how simple it is to become a volunteer, but here’s how in a nutshell. It’s super simple. Just download the Table to Table I-Rescue app on your phone to become a food rescue hero! You’ll complete a simple registration process and volunteer agreement, and then you can get started. The app walks you through every step! 

Since we launched, more than 350 volunteers have completed more than 9,600 rescues and delivered more than 2 million pounds of donated food that would have been thrown away.

We sat down and had a conversation with Vice President of Operations Julie Kinner, who keeps our trucks on the road and volunteers rescuing food, about the I-Rescue app, and how you can use it to help deliver nutritious food and help feed our neighbors in need.

Tell us about Table to Table I-Rescue 

Table to Table I-Rescue is an entirely volunteer-driven app that allows people to pick up nutritious food from grocery stores, restaurants, and events that would otherwise be wasted and deliver it to our recipient partners who then distribute it to our food-insecure neighbors. 

The idea of our App came about in 2020, when everyone was scrambling to provide the best solutions for the astronomically high hunger and food insecurity rates caused by Covid. We were contacted by the Russell Berrie Foundation, who shared with us some technology-based food rescue solutions they were seeing in other regions. After much research on the concept, Table to Table decided to partner with Pittsburgh-based Food Rescue Hero, a technology platform that enables a scalable impact on food waste, food insecurity, and climate change.

The Russell Berrie funded a grant for staff support and subsequent maintenance of the App. During this time, the Bergen County Food Access Task Force was also forming, and they stepped in to provide additional support. That’s how Table to Table I-Rescue was launched!

It’s been wildly successful! Since we launched, more than 350 volunteers have completed more than 9,600 rescues and delivered more than 2 million pounds of donated food that would have been thrown away.

How do I sign up to volunteer? 

It’s super simple. Just download the Table to Table I-Rescue app on your phone to become a food rescue hero! You’ll complete a simple registration process and volunteer agreement, and then you can get started. The app walks you through every step! 

Step 1: Download and Register 

Step 2: Claim a Rescue (Turn on notifications, and check the app daily for available rescues) 

Step 3: Pick up food within the designated time window (Address, contact person, and instructions are provided). 

Step 4: Travel to receiving organization (We do all the “pairing” so you’ll know exactly where you’re delivering to).  

Step 5: Deliver donation, and have someone at the recipient agency sign off on the delivery. Easy Peasy! 

What do I need to become a food rescue hero? 

You only need our Table to Table I-Rescue app downloaded onto your phone, a driver’s license, and an insured vehicle. We have high school students who are not able to drive yet but are asking their parents to drive for them. Families are signing up together and doing the rescues. Retired folks are taking on weekday rescues as part of daily errands and outings. It’s so great to receive pictures and stories from them. Each volunteer is truly impacted by the rescue and come back for more! 

Where can I find rescues and how can I claim one? 

All rescues are posted on our Table to Table I-Rescue app. You can find them on the “Available Rescues” tab, a map will be shown with one-time and weekly rescues, or you can switch to list view (in the upper right corner of the screen) to see available rescues in chronological order. Take a look at what works with your schedule and location, identify the rescue you’re interested in, click on “View Rescue” to see details, and then “Claim This Rescue.”   

What happens after I claim a rescue? 

All your claimed rescues will be moved to the “My Rescues” tab, which you can find on the top left hand-corner of the app. Once you are ready to begin the rescue you will click on “start,” then you will find all the necessary information to complete the rescue including address, points of contacts, estimated amounts, time, etc. The app will walk you through the whole process of your food rescue journey. But if you have any questions or face any issues you can call 551-255-6884. Please be aware that you can always go back to the “My Rescues” page to “Resume” your rescue if you leave the app for any reason. 

What is the difference between a “one-time” and “weekly” rescue? 

Weekly rescues occur on the same day, time, and frequency (i.e. every Monday at 10 am), and on the same route (donor and non-profit partner.) If you claim a weekly rescue as a volunteer, you can always request a “sub” if something comes up and you aren’t able to make it. 

One-time rescues or pop-up rescues occur on an as-needed basis. These are not at pre-determined days and times. When you claim a one-time rescue, you’re committing your time for that one rescue only. You can always check the app for more rescues. 

Can I volunteer just once, or will I need to commit to a schedule? 

You are free to volunteer as often or as little as you would like. If you don’t want to commit to a set schedule, you can claim a one-time rescue. If you would like a set schedule, then weekly rescues are the right fit for you. You can also request a sub if you can’t complete a rescue. 

Is there an age requirement to volunteer? 

Volunteers of all ages are welcome to volunteer in our food rescue program. However, the driver must have a valid driver’s license, and a valid vehicle registration and insurance. 

Do I need a large vehicle for food rescues?

No, a large vehicle is not required to complete a food rescue. Any car size is adequate to complete a food rescue. Before claiming a rescue, you can see the estimated amount of food that is being donated to help ensure your vehicle has the capacity to transport the donation. If you get to the donor location and there is too much food for your car, just let the app dispatcher know and we will schedule another rescue immediately. 

If I run into a problem on a food rescue, who can I contact?

You can contact Kharin at 551-255-6884 during the week, and on the weekends, contact Rosalia at 551-352-0354. The same contact information is also displayed in the app. 

We’re so excited for you to get started with Table to Table I-Rescue and join our growing team of Food Rescue Heroes! 

Food Rescue Hero, the organization that powers our I-Rescue app, hosted an informative webinar about reducing food waste recently. Stephanie Miller, author of “Zero Waste Living The 80/20 Way,” outlined practical steps you can start taking today to reduce the amount of food that gets thrown out in the average home.

Together, we can have a positive impact on the planet. By rescuing fresh, nutritious food that would otherwise go to a landfill, we are able to not only feed food insecure neighbors but also help the environment.

Forty percent of the United States’ food goes uneaten — that’s more than 220 pounds per person! By rescuing the excess food, we can provide countless meals for hungry children and families while preserving our environment. 

As New Jersey’s first and largest food rescue, our mission is to reduce food waste and provide nourishment to our food-insecure neighbors throughout Northern New Jersey. Each year, we rescue millions of pounds of fresh food that would otherwise be wasted and deliver it to partner organizations who support the nearly 1 million people in our area who need it most.

Related

Q & A With Table to Table’s Julie Kinner

Table to Table’s Tips for Saving Food from Landfills

Helpful and Tasty Ways to Stay Heart-Healthy

Every one of us has, at some point, opened our refrigerator to find leftover food from meals prepared earlier in the week. Our first reaction is typically a pang of guilt at the sight of the limp green beans, dry chicken or wilted lettuce. The feeling of guilt is valid. Food waste is a big issue – but the good news is that there are easy ways we can all reduce it right in our own homes. Read on for some tips on how you can get started today! 

Plan, Plan, Plan 

The first step to reducing food waste is to make sure you’re buying what you really need at the grocery store and that means you should focus on meal planning. It sounds like a chore, but it’s truly a game-changer. Simply take a few minutes at the start of the week to plan out your meals. This way, you buy only what you need at the grocery store and avoid those impulse purchases that often end up going to waste. And, by following a recipe and making a grocery list, you can purchase the proper quantities of ingredients, so your food gets used. Plus, it can save you money in the long run and that’s a win-win! 

Leftovers Reimagined! 

Next, make a point of having an evening devoted especially to finishing any leftovers. Instead of letting them droop in the back of the fridge, try folding them into new meals. Got some roasted veggies from last night’s dinner? Throw them into an omelet for breakfast or a salad for lunch. Leftover chicken? Shred it up and make tacos or toss it into a stir-fry. Get creative and see what delicious dishes you can come up with!  

Storage is Key 

Another easy way to reduce food waste is to properly store your food using good quality storage containers. Explore the best way to store different types of produce to keep them fresh for as long as possible – learn what goes on the counter, what belongs in bags, what should or shouldn’t be pre-washed. And don’t forget about your freezer. Many foods can be frozen for later use, like bread, meat, and pasta. Remember to label your containers so the contents and the date when you prepared and froze them are clearly listed.  

Compost 

Another great way to reduce food waste is to compost. Instead of tossing those fruit and veggie scraps into the trash where they’ll just end up in a landfill, you can turn them into nutrient-rich soil for your garden. Composting is easier than you might think, and it’s a great way to reduce your environmental impact while beautifying your garden. 

While reducing food waste at home, you can also support your neighbors – and your planet – by getting involved with Table to Table! As New Jersey’s first and largest food rescue, our mission is to reduce food waste and provide nourishment to our food-insecure neighbors throughout Northern New Jersey. Each year, we rescue millions of pounds of fresh food that would otherwise be wasted and deliver it to partner organizations who support the nearly 1 million people in our area who need it most. Visit us at www.tabletotable.org to learn how you can get involved as a supporter, a “Food Rescue Hero” volunteer, and more. 

Together, we can reduce food waste in our home and make a positive impact on the planet. Every little bit of effort—no matter how small–leads to change.  

In addition to celebrating Valentine’s Day, there’s something else to love about the month of February! It’s also American Heart Month, a time when everyone is encouraged to focus on their cardiovascular health. So, what can you do to stay heart-healthy? Well, according to the Center for Disease Control, some key tips for preventing heart disease are to maintain a healthy weight, avoid smoking, and get regular physical exercise.

Another critical preventative measure is to choose healthy foods and drinks. Here are a few useful tips to remember as you choose your meals and snacks each day:

  • Eating lots of foods high in saturated fat and trans-fat may contribute to heart disease.
  • Eating foods high in fiber and low in saturated fats, trans fat, and cholesterol can help prevent high cholesterol.
  • Limiting salt in your diet can also lower your blood pressure.
  • Limiting sugar in your diet can lower your blood sugar level to prevent/control diabetes.
  • Do not drink too much alcohol, which can raise your blood pressure.

Our team at Table to Table loves heart-healthy foods! As New Jersey’s first food rescue, we pride ourselves on reducing food waste and delivering fresh, nutritious food to people who otherwise would not have access to it.

The connection between our work and heart health may not be immediately apparent, but it is a bond that holds great promise. Our organization is committed to reducing hunger while also promoting overall health and well-being. The nutrient-rich foods we rescue and deliver to the community can play a big role in improving heart health for at-risk individuals.

As we celebrate American Heart Month – as well as Table to Table’s 25th anniversary – we invite you join us in exploring more than 25 heart-healthy recipes sourced from eatingwell.com. Serve up some Garlic Roasted Salmon and Brussel Sprouts, rich in omega-3 fatty acids from salmon, for dinner tonight; or pack yourself a Chickpea and Quinoa Buddha Bowl, packed with fiber and antioxidants, for lunch this week. Recipes like this will nourish your heart today and keep you fit and healthy well into the future!

And, if you would like to nourish our community, we welcome your support through our Love NJ. Feed NJ campaign. Now, more than ever, your support can make a difference. Join Table to Table in nourishing our community by putting healthy food into the hands of those who need it most. Visit our website to learn more about our initiatives and how you can contribute. Together, we can build a healthier, more sustainable future, nourishing one heart at a time.

Reducing food waste is a critical part of our mission and work at Table to Table. By rescuing fresh, nutritious food that would otherwise go to a landfill, we are able to not only feed food insecure neighbors but also help the environment. So, reducing food waste in your own home should be a cinch, shouldn’t it? Well, not really.

One of the largest contributors of food waste is food that is thrown out due to a misunderstanding of food date code labels. Read on to learn more about what they really mean…or don’t mean.

Take the First Step Towards Being Earth-Friendly

So, what does this mean? You don’t need to throw away your food just because the date on the label has passed. Keep this chart handy on your fridge, get creative with recipes to use up leftovers, and stick to a grocery list that reflects your menu for the week.

How Table to Table I-Rescue Helps

Forty percent of the United States’ food goes uneaten—that’s more than 220 pounds per person! By rescuing the excess food, we can provide countless meals for hungry children and families while preserving our environment. After all, the uneaten food ends up rotting in landfills, accounting for 16% of U.S. methane emissions.

Table to Table has a solution. Table to Table I-Rescue is a volunteer-based app that allows volunteers to help rescue and deliver fresh food to our neighbors facing food insecurity.

Watch a how-to claim a food rescue video.

Download the App
Claim a Rescue
Be a Food Rescue Hero

Other Helpful Tips

Don’t underestimate the power of your own senses! Spoilage bacteria will often produce a change in odor, flavor, or texture. Also, you can protect yourself from bacteria that cause food-borne illnesses, like E. coli, by preparing foods to USDA-recommended temperatures. The FoodKeeper App, created by the USDA, is an easy and convenient way to find all the answers. Keep in mind that the only product with a firm use-by date is infant formula. You can also read more about food safety, handling, and preparation by clicking here.

Indulge your senses and make a difference in the lives of our hungry neighbors in New Jersey by attending the highly anticipated 2023 Table to Table’s Chefs Gala! Join us for an unforgettable evening of exquisite dining, fine wine, an extravagant auction and, most importantly, a chance to support a worthy cause. Mark your calendars for September 27th at 6pm and reserve your table today!

We are honored to have the legendary chef, Melba Wilson, as our Chef Honoree this year. Melba’s extraordinary culinary skills, warm personality, and dedication to helping others make her the perfect choice to be celebrated. Known for her soulful and delicious creations at Melba’s Restaurant in New York City, Melba embodies the spirit of community and generosity that embodies Table to Table.

Additionally, that evening Table to Table will welcome and recognize the Inaugural Members of The Founder’s Table: American Express, American Airlines, Crestron, Inserra Supermarkets, Rudolf J. Mueller, Summit Associates and Volvo Car USA.

In addition to the sumptuous feast, the Chefs Gala will feature an extravagant live auction that promises excitement and exclusive treasures. Bid on unique experiences, luxury items and one-of-a-kind opportunities.

While the Chef Gala promises an unforgettable dining experience, its real magic lies in the impact it has on the community. With every ticket received, every auction bid made, and every generous donation received, individuals contribute to Table to Table’s vital mission of alleviating food insecurity in northern NJ.

We would like to extend our deepest gratitude and appreciation to our sponsors who help make the Chefs Gala and the work we do at Table to Table possible: our Presenting Sponsor, American Express; as well as our Grand Sponsors, American Airlines, Crestron, Inserra Supermarkets Inc. and Summit Associates Inc., our Gold Sponsors: David & Kathleen Hildes; Doherty Enterprises Inc. and Tito’s Handmade Vodka; our Silver Sponsors: Columbia Bank Foundation, NY Giants, Takasago, Valley Bank and Wegmans and our Bronze Sponsors: Fatima Bulur, Menasha and Peapack-Gladstone Bank.  

Do not miss your chance to be a part of this extraordinary event for a worthy cause! Reserve your table NOW to indulge in a night of culinary wonders, fine wine and heartwarming generosity. Join us at the Edgewood Country Club on September 27th at 6 pm as we come together as a community to feed our hungry neighbors and make a lasting impact!

 “It’s a struggle.  I’ve been raising my kids for the past three and a half years by myself.  My husband passed away and this is the biggest help that anyone can get.  I know it’s hard to make that money stretch and we see a lot of working poor.  You know, rents are so high in Paterson, so it’s either you have to pay your rent and pay your bills or, pay your rent and feed your children.”

-Maritza