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The Journal Gazette

Friday, November 09, 2018 1:00 am

App aimed at getting extra food to hungry

Partnership helps collect, deliver to those in need

DAVE GONG | The Journal Gazette

The Allen County Department of Environmental Management has partnered with Food Rescue US to help bring meals to residents in need and reduce food waste.

“Throwing good food away should just not happen, especially when so many would appreciate receiving it,” Jodi Leamon, the department's business technical coordinator, said in a statement. “With the holidays coming up, many people are hosting events which will produce excess food and I think people are also looking for ways to help the community and those in need. This is an opportunity to put the two together in a very simple way that can make a big difference.”

Food Rescue US has a smartphone app that allows users to donate, deliver and distribute excess food to those who need it. Restaurants, grocery stores or other food providers can list surplus food for donation through the app. Volunteers or agencies can then choose deliveries that work best for them.

The Department of Environmental Management has been working on food waste reduction as a focus for several years, Leamon said, adding that she became aware of the Food Rescue US app a year ago and started working with the developers to see how it could be launched in Allen County. 

“Basically, we have been just educating people, reaching out to our network and building critical mass to have the app functional here in Allen County,” Leamon said. 

Reducing food waste is a major part of the Department of Environmental Management's mission.

“Our mandate is to keep waste out of the landfill and food, any organic material that goes into the landfill contributes to methane pollution,” Leamon said. “It takes up space in the landfill and produces harmful gases. Plus it's food, so it should never be thrown away in the first place.”

Before the Food Rescue app launched Wednesday, the department was connecting citizens, businesses and food release organizations manually. 

“We had a really good groundwork laid with a lot of people who have said they're interested in helping,” Leamon said. “It's a mix of restaurants, catering and also food release agencies and interested citizens.”

Residents interested in reducing food waste don't necessarily have to use the app to do so, Leamon said. The Department of Environmental Management has resources for people at home, she said. 

“We can help save money and reduce the food that is being thrown away,” Leamon said. “We have partnered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on food waste reduction strategies, such as outreach and education.”

Leamon can be reached at 260-449-7879.