For the last two years, a partnership between the Creston Food Bank and Save-On-Foods has saved thousands of kilograms of food from the landfill.
FoodMesh, a food recovery service provider, helps organizations with surplus food donate to non-profits that need it.
Seven days a week, staff at Save-On-Foods put aside food items that are not considered good enough quality to sell, such as bruised produce or dairy products close to expiration.
The grocery items are then picked up and brought to Creston Valley Gleaners Society to be sorted according to what is still suitable for consumption.
“I want to say a huge thank you to the Food Bank for all they have done in supporting this program,” said Steve Smeaton, Save-On-Foods store manager. “While the store covers the costs, the Food Bank staff does the heavy lifting. We really want to recognize all their hard work for such a good thing for our community.”
After sorting, the recovered products are distributed to food bank recipients and 35 different community programs, including TAPS (Therapeutic Activation Program for Seniors), Holy Cross Catholic Church, Kootenai Community Centre Society, breakfast programs at the local schools, and more.
“What we pick up daily (from Save-On-Foods) would normally be thrown into their compactors and would be going to the dump,” said Bobbie-Jo Fay, Creston Valley Gleaners Society food services co-ordinator.
Since FoodMesh was implemented in Creston, 205,458 kilograms of food has been rescued from the landfill, 244,486 meals have been provided, and 390,370 kilograms of carbon emissions have been saved.
“The amount that we are saving from the dump is enough for us to pick up every day of the week, every single day,” said Fay. “This is cutting costs for a lot of these programs to be able to keep running. It’s also providing so much more fresh fruit, dairy, breads, desserts, and stuff that you normally would not spend money on because it’s not a necessity.”
Fay also expressed her thanks to Save-On-Foods for supporting the partnership, as it cuts down on food costs immensely.
“Words can’t express how grateful I am for this,” she said. “All around, it is an amazing program. It helps us to provide a lot more quality and nutritious food to our recipients.”