Redirecting surplus food to human service agencies instead of the landfill is a great way to help combat waste, and this non-profit called Rescuing Left Over Cuisine is striving to do exactly that.
Read more to learn about this non-profit and how you can help or get involved!
Rescuing Leftover Cuisine (“RLC”) is a non-profit food rescue organization. It is headquartered in NYC and has branches nationwide, with our branch — RLC JC — being the youngest. RLC JC just launched in early March. Their volunteers pick up leftover (but fit-for-consumption) food from restaurants, caterers, and other food establishments (“Vendor Partners”) and deliver it to shelters, transitional housing programs and food pantries in the area.
By redirecting surplus food to such human service agencies – instead of having it go to the landfill – Vendor Partners help reduce food insecurity, food waste and the emission of harmful greenhouse gases (which is what happens when food decomposes in landfills). Everyone in the community wins.
Their branch, RLC JC, currently services Jersey City and is available to take on opportunities in Hoboken as well.
I (M. Faye Shin) am the Branch Director. I volunteered for an RLC rescue event in Manhattan and, being a Jersey City resident myself, felt that Jersey City (and Hoboken) had the infrastructure for an organization like RLC to serve the needs of the community. We have so many quality restaurants that can help alleviate the conditions of food poverty in JC and Hoboken! So I decided to bring RLC here. My background is in corporate law, so working so deeply in the food rescue space has been a change, but getting to know all the different stakeholders in the community has been an amazing experience. I am so grateful for all the support we have received so far.
Joe Dunn is our Brand Strategist and has been a resident of Hoboken since 2005. He is also the Chief Visual Storyteller of Bent Gate Media and helps hardworking businesses craft engaging visuals with a unique strategy that drives brand awareness so they can stand out from the crowd. He also has a huge heart for serving those in need.
Jessica Schindewolf, Orlando Lam and Elizabeth Mak are also volunteers (and all JC residents) who have helped on rescues and each has generously given their time to help out on operational matters as well. They have played critical roles in helping our branch scale, and we are so lucky to have such mission-driven volunteers.
M. Faye Shin
We are also looking to grow our team and have internships available for college students who are JC residents with an interest in food justice. Anyone interested can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
If vendors are interested in donating their food instead of throwing it away, they can contact us, and our volunteers will go to their establishments at a prearranged time to pick up the donation. Typically vendors have the surplus food packaged for easy pick up, and our volunteers will then deliver the food to a predetermined organization that serves the food insecure. It’s a really easy way to give back to the community for everyone involved.
Our Vendor Partners also receive all the documentation they need to claim tax deductions. We also provide them with regular reports setting forth valuable data, including how many meals were served and how much CO2 was avoided thanks to their donation. We also provide PR to Vendor Partners through our social media platforms, and historically, RLC’s Vendor Partners have found increased brand loyalty amongst their employees and patrons given the positive association gained from partnering with a mission-driven, eco-friendly brand like ours.
RLC JC is also about investing in local businesses, so we support our Vendor Partners by buying gift cards or investing in them some other way. Pret a Manger in Newport Mall was our first Vendor Partner, and we bought gift cards from them to gift to our volunteers as a token of appreciation. Greater Good Events, a local event planning company, is also one of our Vendor Partners, and we purchased several orders of cookies for their joint bake sale with Milk Sugar Love that benefited the JC Medical Center during the pandemic. We value our Vendor Partners and want to support the work that they do for our community.
We take donations from any food establishment (e.g., restaurants, cafes, caterers, grocers). Companies that cater lunch for their employees can also donate their surplus food and receive tax deductions.
All surplus fresh and/or prepared food that has been properly stored and kept out of the “Danger Zone”, as defined by the United States Department of Agriculture, may be donated unless it has been served (i.e., we will not take food from an individual’s leftovers on their plate).
It’s important to have an organization like RLC JC here because there is a need for it. There are over 70,000 people in Hudson County who are food insecure. Jersey City also deals with more greenhouse gas emissions than other cities of its size because so many people pass through the city en route to other places. I’ve also spoken with several businesses in the area, and I know there is a lot of food going to waste that can go to shelters instead. These are all pain points that adversely affect the city, but fortunately, we also have all the players to create a more sustainable future together.
The kinds of businesses who are attracted to us are socially conscious and want to really move the needle of progress for the community. We currently have partnerships with Pret a Manger in Newport Mall, Greater Good Events, which is a local event planning company, Freetown Road Project, a bomb West Indian restaurant in Journal Square, and Panera Bread. If any vendors would like to partner with us for food rescues, we provide our services at no cost.
It’s super easy if you want to volunteer.
- Sign up for a volunteer account through the RLC website and then pick a rescue event that works from the Jersey City calendar: https://www.rescuingleftovercuisine.org/calendar
- If you are not able to volunteer at this time, and our mission resonates with you, you can also support us by donating to our COVID19 community fund:https://donate.rescuingleftovercuisine.org/JCBranch
- This campaign is a true community fund, and your donation will go to supporting our rescues, the medical community in Jersey City, and local businesses.