Saving food before it becomes trash

Posted at 6:53 PM, Jul 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-22 19:54:08-04

Thousands of pounds of perishables line the coolers of the Hy-Vee near 96th and Q. 

"We have pizzas, Chinese food, desserts, salads,” said Hy-Vee Manager of General Merchandise Jeremy Mahon.

Each pre-packed perishable is labeled with an expiration date.  In the past expired or almost expired products went straight to the trash. 

“You're talking anywhere from 200 to 500 pounds of stuff thrown away on any given day.  You throw it away and you almost forget what you’re doing because it’s just part of business,” said Mahon.

Jeremy Mahon says about a year and a half ago thanks to a local non-profit, his Hy-Vee had the opportunity to start saving their food before it could hit the trash.

Saving Grace Perishable Food Rescue makes it all possible. 

“Basically we're a perishable food pipeline.  We match that food to our local non-profits and deliver it that same afternoon.  So as fresh as we get it, they get it,” said Saving Grace Perishable Food Rescue Founder Beth Ostdiek Smith. 

Back in February, we followed the non-profit around as the drivers made their rounds in refrigerated trucks.  Today even in the heat, the drivers stayed upbeat. 

Five days a week, two drivers pick-up and drop-off hundreds of pounds of perishables. 

“We were writing some grants and someone said you’re at 950,000 pounds, you're getting close to a million and so I thought we better pay attention,” said Ostdiek Smith. 

On Thursday, Saving Grace picked up their one-millionth pound of food.  Founder Beth Ostdiek Smith says this couldn’t have happened without the community’s help. 

“Keep it coming, we need food and dollar donors to make it happen.  We're making a difference,” said Ostdiek Smith. 

If you'd like to donate to the non-profit head here