Plentiful Harvest Food Rescue Program

December 10, 2012, 2:25 PM EST


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A recently established food rescue program in Windsor-Essex, Ontario called Plentiful Harvest is helping to reduce hunger in the community by saving and packaging food that otherwise would have gone to waste.

Retired CAW Local 444 Financial Secretary Gary Parent outlined to CAW Council delegates how the program was launched, its goals, and the positive impact it is having in Windsor and Essex counties.

The program has three key components:

- a 26 foot refrigerated truck and smaller trucks that pick up donations from farmers, food producers, suppliers, restaurants, conference centres, hotels, banquet halls, caterers and grocery stores. The smaller trucks are also used as mobile food banks;
- a food rescue program and 3000 square foot storage hub;
- a community kitchen, where fresh and prepared food is repackaged including fruits and vegetables and meats collected for community distribution.  Food is also preserved at this kitchen through canning, vacuum sealing and dehydration. The kitchen also provides free cooking lessons, as well as workshops on nutrition, food shopping and safe food handling.

"Remember - one day any one of us could be in need of this food," said Parent who was joined on stage by numerous CAW volunteers as well as program staff and Windsor Unemployed Help Centre chief Executive Officer June Muir.

Community partners in the program, which is run through the local Unemployed Help Centre, include CAW Local 200, CAW National union, CAW Local 444, the United Way and Nature Fresh Farms, an independent green-house produce grower. Local 200, 444, the National Union and CAW's Social Justice Fund contributed a combined $150,000 to Plentiful Harvest.

"The idea of this program is really to bring food to the table," said CAW Local 444 President Dino Chiodo. "I'm excited to say we have a lot of partners who have stepped up," Chiodo added. He said a key approach of Plentiful Harvest is to help the poor and those without enough food to build increased food security for themselves and their families.

"We offer an opportunity for people to help themselves," Chiodo said.

To find out more about the Windsor area food rescue program please visit www.plentifulharvest.ca

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