Sustainable Connections‘ newest initiative in their Toward Zero Waste campaign is the Squatch Waste Food Recovery Initiative and began in 2017. In November 2019, Bellingham Public Schools joined this campaign for food recovery, helping to keep food out of the waste stream. After two years of planning and making the right connections, leftover school food from the food services program (frozen immediately after being served) is now being picked up and shared with those in need.
The food recovery is a win-win situation for both the school district and the community. The food from cafeterias is not enough to serve again to the hundreds of children who go through the food lines daily, but the district wanted to find the best option for this valuable resource and not simply compost or throw away.
The recovered surplus foods are redistributed to multiple locations throughout Whatcom County, according to Mark Peterson, the sustainable business manager of Sustainable Connections. The Miracle Food Network is one of the volunteer partners on this initiative, delivering to various churches and locations where there are members of our community experiencing homelessness. Food is also donated to Northwest Youth Services, St. Francis Place, 22 North, the East Whatcom Regional Resource Center in Kendall and Cornerstone Christian Ministries on the Lummi Nation.
“There are no shortages of need or places to receive the food and we fully expect this list to expand,” Peterson says.
“We are able to provide high quality, nutritious and delicious food to some of the most vulnerable members of our community, while at the same time reducing waste by diverting this precious resource from landfills.”
To learn more about this food recovery effort of Sustainable Connections, click here.
The mission statement for the Squatch initiative states: The Squatch Waste Food Recovery Initiative addresses climate change, hunger insecurity and builds community by recovering surplus edible foods and redistributing it to those in need.”