#PeopleofNEI: Jodi, preventing food waste during COVID-19

Northeast Indiana is evolving. These are the people shaping its future. #PeopleofNEI

This week's feature:

Jodi has been working with Food Rescue US during the pandemic to connect food with people in need so that it does not go to waste. These efforts have been happening each Thursday morning in Downtown Fort Wayne with the help of her volunteer team. “Because of COVID-19, farmer channels have been disrupted, and there are so many people that are hungry. Often, when farmers have excess food, it gets plowed over or thrown away. This is a federal program that is paying farmers for their food to prevent waste and help people in need. This effort that I am the site director for started in June. We just got another round of contracts that will extend through October and then we will go from there. On Thursdays, we have on average of ten people volunteering their time to load 36 pound boxes of food into trucks for different charity organizations. The agencies then disburse the food. Local nonprofits do the final distribution. We used our existing network to figure out how to distribute it. This is above and beyond what I normally do with food rescue. When I got the call about these federal food boxes I just said ‘yes’ without knowing how I was going to do it. They said they were sending 1,400 boxes and I said I would figure it out. There is more of a need than people understand. Many of these groups are getting hundreds of boxes (filled with milk, butter, potatoes, yogurt, chicken, meatballs, lunch meat, cheese, and cabbage) and the minute they pull up, it is gone in minutes. They have to turn people away then. It’s amazing to hear about people sharing and splitting potatoes in half. Everything is gone no matter how much we deliver. People are taking off work to volunteer, deliver, and direct traffic to make this happen. We get to do this. It’s an honor. There’s just no complaining. Everyone pitches in and helps.” #PeopleofNEI

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Read more articles by Stephen J. Bailey.

Stephen J. Bailey is a Fort Wayne native and the owner of PH Digital that was founded in 2006. Based out of the Anthony Wayne Building in downtown Fort Wayne, he specializes in web development, SEO development, social media management, and digital marketing campaigns with numerous companies in northeast Indiana. Stephen loves road trips, sushi, his pups, and spending time on our three rivers.
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