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New Food Recovery Campaign Helps Food Insecure Neighbors, Reduces Waste

Jun 02 2020

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During the month of May, SCARCE continued to help get books and supplies to local families while expanding into a new project. SCARCE, the DuPage County Sheriff and DuPage County Board Dist. 6 Commissioner Sheila Rutledge combined forces for the “It Takes a Village” campaign to feed citizens in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The goal of the “It Takes a Village” campaign is to redirect excess food to DuPage County’s citizens most in need. With many restaurants and cafeterias shuttered, food grown and processed for those kitchens has suddenly lost its market. Some has made it to local food pantries but the pandemic has put a strain on their capacity.

As food sources are made available, Deputies redeployed from the Sheriff’s Work Alternative Program (SWAP) pick up the donated food and bring it to SCARCE where staff divide and pre-pack it for distribution to those in need. Once recipients are identified, the Sheriff’s deputies then bring the food directly to them.

“It’s a win-win. We can help our community while we help our planet”, Kay McKeen, SCARCE Founder & Executive Director said. “This is the kind of work we find so important at SCARCE. We’re happy to be a part of this solution.”

This effort highlights how doing good for our planet is so often directly connected with helping people. Food waste is the single largest material sent to landfills where it directly contributes to climate change. In the meantime, food insecurity is on a sharp rise due to the economic impacts of COVID-19.

The “It Takes a Village” campaign’s food recovery and distribution so far has included:

  • 2 pallets of food from Electri-Flex Company repackaged and donated to the Catholic Charities Hope House shelter, DuPage Pads, and the Neighborhood Food Pantries West Chicago location
  • York Township Food Pantry received 10 cases of ready-to-eat meals
  • 50 hot meals and 18 cases of ready-to-eat meals were distributed to low-income residents at Colony Park Apartments in Carol Stream
  • People’s Resource Center received 54 cases of ready-to-eat meals

SCARCE has supplemented food donations with books including 1,440 books donated to Neighborhood Food Pantries locations in Carol Stream, Bartlett, and West Chicago.

Citizens, restaurants or other business partners who are able to donate or are aware of excess food sources may contact the Sheriff’s Office Community Resource Unit at 630-407-2317.

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