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Tufts Food Rescue Collaborative

Why food rescue?

Every year 40% of food grown for consumption in the United States goes to waste. At the same time, 48.1 million Americans live in food insecure households with women and children experiencing a disproportionate amount of the burden. Unfortunately, for many people living in Somerville, food insecurity is not an abstract concept. Alongside affordable housing, access to affordable, healthy, and culturally appropriate food is among the central issues confronting our host community. University dining halls can serve not only as a platform to educate and engage students with the important issues of hunger and food waste, but can also create system changes to minimize food waste and salvage food that can be used to feed people in need.

What is Tufts doing about it?

In 2015 Food for Free, a local NGO that rescues food, in collaboration with Tufts undergraduate students, local school counselors, district level officials, and graduate students from the Friedman School of Nutrition started a Family Meals program using rescued food to provide more than 400 meals every week for homeless families living at the Day St. Hotel in Boston.

This preliminary work paved the way for the formation in March 2016 of the Tufts Food Rescue Collaborative, a partnership between Tufts Dining, staff/faculty, students and Food For Free to minimize food waste at Tufts while at the same time addressing food insecurity in the local host community. Through this collaborative, Tufts dining donates about 200 lbs. of food per week to Food for Free. This food is packaged in ready-to-eat meals that Food for Free delivers to families in need through Food for Free's Hotel Family Meals program.

Learn more about Food For Free and their collaboration with Tufts Dining in this presentation:
Bridging the gap between waste and want: Turning Potentially Wasted Food into a Solution for Hunger
Sasha Purpura, Executive Director, Food For Free
Patti Klos, Director of Dining and Business Services, Tufts Dining

TFRC partners:

  • Tufts Dining
  • Food for Free
  • Volunteers:
    • ATO
    • Eco Reps
    • Food for Thought
    • GreEco reps
    • Leonard Carmichael Society – Food Rescue
    • Tufts Sustainability Collective
    • Individual volunteers
  • Academic departments/programs:
    • Environmental Studies
    • Community Health
    • Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life

How can YOU help?

We are always looking for volunteers to:

  • Package food at Carmichael and DeWick dining halls, Mon-Sat 2:00-4:00 pm, 1-or 2-hour shifts available.
  • Rescue food from local supermarkets on Sat or Sun – helpers and drivers needed. Tufts provides the vans.

If you are interested in volunteering at the dining halls or have any questions about TFRC's work, please email tufts.FRC@gmail.com. If you are interested in volunteering rescuing food from supermarkets on the weekends email lcsfoodrescue@gmail.com.