Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Urban Gleaners-Breaking the bread tossing habbit

Tracy Oseran is the dynamo behind Urban Gleaners, a small food-rescue organization. She started Urban Gleaners about 3 years ago. At first the SW Portland native and her daughter drove around in the family car picking up unserved food from a few Portland restaurants, then delivered it to nonprofits that feed the homeless.
Urgan Gleaners has grown much more since then. Now they have a small warehouse, an Old Town Kitchen and a van of its own. It picks up 40,000 pounds of food each month.
Feeding hungry people inspired Oseran to start out but her work has environmental benefits as well. 40,000 lbs of food saved from a landfill.
The Oregon Food Bank also saves 11,000 tons of food but only to larger quantities of food leaving behind the smaller ones for Oseran.
Trying to keep food out of landfills, Metro provided grants to help out five nonprofits purchase trucks so they could pick up unused food from local restaurants and groceries
. Orseran how now started to deliver food to local schools. Urban Gleaners now delivers to Powellhurst School in Southeast Portland every Tuesday and Thursday. Everything from cereal boxes to canned tuna that can be placed into little backpacks. Kids love the prizes they get to take home.
"I just want to pick up food and take it to people who needed it," Oseran says.
People wishing to volunteer time at Urban Gleaners, or, restaurants and groceries that would like to schedule pick ups, should call 503-226-8061

I not only wanted to highlight a local hero in my eyes but I also wanted to inspire others to do so. Start by contacting your local state ran food bank and asking how you can help. Or maybe as simple as taking your left overs to homeless shelters. Its easy to do and helps out in more ways than one. We could all get a little inspiration from this Oseran.


Ria said...

When my mother worked at a fast food restaurant, they would frequently throw out that day's leftover breadsticks rather than giving them to the local foodbank, saying that if they gave the leftover food to charity once, people would expect them to keep doing it. Apparently wasting food was better to them than feeding the hungry.

It's disgusting how much restaurants and stores throw away that are still perfectly good to eat. More than once I've been tempted to go Dumpster-diving to supplement my own food stores, since I know how to generally tell if something's worth salvaging or not, and it saves it from going to waste.

It's good to know that there's an entire organization that does that, even if it happens to be nowhere near me.

Amber said...

I volunteer to deliver food to local food pantries from left over food at my local schools. The program here (Beaverton) is called Fork it Over. Your school should have more information - it's a wonderful way to spend an hour during my morning.