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How do we get our food?


Here’s a statistic that ought to make you mad:

40% of America’s food goes wasted!

As a grassroots response to food waste at the local retail and wholesale level, our Food Recovery program collects healthy perishable food from over 365 donors and quickly distributes it to agencies in the greater Triangle on our fleet of 13 refrigerated vehicles.

Staff and volunteers trained in the best food safety practices drive truck routes across our 7 counties, picking up food from grocery stores, catering companies, corporate cafeterias, restaurants, wholesale food brokers, vending companies, and The North Carolina State Farmers Market.

Our goal is  to reduce waste at all levels of the food system. We source healthy food from all channels available to us, including  Field Gleaning to harvest the excess from local farmers fields. All of this food is still good to eat, but unmarketable for cosmetic reasons.  It is full of nutrition, and we make sure it gets quickly into the hands and the bellies of our neighbors in need, instead of going to waste.

We encourage local backyard, community, and school gardeners to donate produce through Plant a Row for the Hungry.

We also grow food on our Teaching Farm, some of which is used in our Nutrition Education classes, cooked into healthy meals for kids, used by Catering for a Cause, or distributed directly to those in need.

What can I donate?

We always accept staple items for our BackPack Buddies and School Pantries. Find the list of our most needed items here:  Healthy Food Drive Flier. Read how to hold a healthy, helpful IFFS food drive here.

For HEALTH and safety reasons, we cannot accept donations of

  • Home prepared food including canned/jarred fruits, vegetables, and preserves
  • Heavily dented cans
  • Items without labels
  • Items void of nutritional value including candy, potted meat, Vienna sausages, “fruit” drinks made without fruit juice, sodas, and chips.

We DO encourage donations of healthy items such as:

  • Whole Grains
  • Quinoa
  • Brown Rice
  • Dry beans/peas
  • 100% juice
  • Shelf stable milk
  • Dried fruit
  • Nuts
  • Nut butters

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