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Cultivate Food Rescue Reaches Milestone

Published: Friday, November 19, 2021

Cultivate Food Rescue, a local nonprofit dedicated to reducing food insecurity and increasing environmental sustainability in Elkhart, St. Joseph and Marshall counties, recently reached a milestone recently by rescuing 2 million pounds of food.

According to the United Nations, if food waste were a country, it would be the third largest greenhouse gas emitter behind China and the United States. This issue along with the mission of feeding hungry people has propelled Cultivate Food Rescue to see tremendous growth in the past year. It took 42 months to rescue its first 1 million pounds of food and only another 10 months to rescue its second million pounds.

"Our success would not be possible without the generous support of food donors such as the University of Notre Dame, the Society of St. Andrews, Milford Food Bank, Bimbo Bakeries, and so many more," said Jim Conklin executive director and co-founder.

What did Cultivate do with 2 million pounds of food? It provided over 1.6 million meals through its backpack and pantry programs. With the help of over 400 monthly volunteers, Cultivate packages over 6,000 frozen meals per week for food insecure children. In the three counties of Elkhart, Marshall and St. Joseph counties, there are 38,500 students on free and reduced lunch. Cultivate's backpack meals fill in the 68-hour food gap between Friday at lunch and Monday morning at breakfast.

Additionally, Cultivate supports a network of over 100 area food pantries, soup kitchens and organizations to provide them with delicious, rescued, perishable items like fresh fruits and vegetables, milk and bread; items necessary for a healthy and nutritious diet.

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