How can you support Table to Table a little extra during #GivingTuesday, the largest worldwide social media fundraising event of the year?
You can set up your own Facebook fundraiser for your friends to make donations toward our work!
This #GivingTuesday, I’m raising funds for local food rescue Table to Table. T2T recovers excess food from grocery stores, farms, & restaurants and delivers it to hunger relief agencies. Since March, T2T has served 14,800 people through recipient partners. Access to fresh, healthy food is always needed, but this year especially T2T’s food rescue operations have been critical for many of our neighbors.
T2T has rescued over 22 million pounds of food since 1996 — 2.3 million pounds just this past year. Will you help me support Table to Table’s work by making a donation today?
Thanks for supporting our mission during #GivingTuesday. Our work wouldn’t be possible without you!
Nearly 12 percent of Johnson County Iowa residents are food insecure. Table to Table is launching new initiatives that get fresh produce to Johnson County pantries serving 13,000 people (1). Those who don’t have adequate access to food have even less access to nutritious fresh foods. Fresh, local produce is often cost-prohibitive for impoverished families and a cost burden to hunger relief agencies serving them. Food recovery programs like the one we are proposing have proven to effectively address food insecurity and resulting health outcomes. Beneficiaries of fresh food recovery programs have reported increased fruit and vegetable consumption, healthier overall diets, and decreased stress levels (2). This program will address the emergency food needs of Johnson County residents and provide them access to additional nutritious food resources.
AmeriCorps Onsite Gleaning Program Coordinator, 9 months (1200 hours)
20-40 hours per week | Start date flexible from December 2020 – February 2021 | Position concludes fall 2021
Do you love outdoor work, agriculture, and working with people? This may be the job for you! Table to Table is seeking an active and creative Gleaning Coordinator to join our dynamic team. If you’re enthusiastic and passionate about providing fresh, nutritious food to those in need, you’ll fit right in. This seasonal position will lead our gleaning food recovery initiative by helping volunteers harvest fresh produce that otherwise would have gone to waste. Excellent communication, organization, and leadership skills are essential for coordinating with farmers, volunteers, and recipient sites in Johnson County.
This position balances well-developed communication skills with hands-on interaction to coordinate the gleaning or harvesting of excess produce from farms and private donors. The Coordinator is responsible for year-round outreach and relationship building with local farms, volunteers, and recipient agencies. During harvest season, the Coordinator will lead volunteers to harvest local food and deliver it to partners serving food insecure individuals. The fresh produce gleaned is a vital additional resource for fighting food insecurity across Iowa. Find out more and
Read more about the AmeriCorps benefits and position details in the full job description.
Not sure what AmeriCorps is and whether this position is right for you? Reach out to us for more info by emailing or calling our offices at 319-337-3400 and we’ll gladly answer your questions.
If you or someone you know may be interested in this position please send a resume and cover letter to Emily Meister.
As a way to increase our fresh food recovery efforts, this summer we kicked off our local farm gleaning program with Blueyah Blueberry Farm near Iowa City. The family-owned farm typically allows visitors to pick their homegrown blueberries to take home and enjoy, but they changed things up a bit this year.
“We were hesitant to open our farm to the public this summer, even with COVID precautions in place—but we also didn’t want to ‘donate’ our entire blueberry crop to the birds and raccoons. When we asked our customers what they thought we should do, someone mentioned Table to Table’s new gleaning program, and it was the perfect solution,” say Jenna and Eric, the farmers at Blueyah. “Not only does Table to Table serve the entire county, but they also recruit and train berry-picking volunteers. Plus, they’re staffed by some of the kindest, most generous people we’ve ever met. Now, our fresh blueberries are finding their way to people who need them, instead of to the local bluejays (who don’t).”
We gleaned 70 pounds of blueberries at Blueyah this season – which is A LOT of blueberries! Gleaning volunteers picked the berries, then portioned them into individual containers for easy distribution at food pantries. Local families could enjoy a package of fresh blueberries grown just a few miles away. Plus, blueberries are packed with antioxidants – making them a very healthy snack. Thanks to Jenna and Eric’s generosity and our gleaning volunteers’ hard work harvesting the berries, many of our neighbors who don’t have affordable access to fresh produce enjoyed nutritious local blueberries this summer.
It’s been another unbelievable week for our community, and we hope this note finds you and your family safe and well.
We want to keep you updated about Table to Table’s efforts as tough times get tougher. First, I just wanted to take a moment and thank the T2T team for stepping up, EVEN MORE, to go above and beyond our everyday mission. The morning after the storm, with communications still down, we weren’t sure what resources we’d have for food rescue. Even with damage to their own homes and their power still out, Table to Table volunteers showed up anyway. By now, this dedication probably doesn’t surprise you, but it is uncommon and we won’t ever take it for granted. If you know a T2T volunteer or if you see one out on a route, please give them a kind word of appreciation or a socially distanced high-five. They are heroes.
Food Loss and Replenishment
In the first days after the storm, T2T deployed resources across Iowa City (and even to Cedar Rapids) to help partners continue serving our neighbors.
After so many hours of power outage the evening of August 10 and beyond, many of our partner grocery stores had to throw away thousands of pounds of food. Because of this, food rescue was light in the first day after the storm. Fortunately, we found other sources of food and other ways to help.
“We have plenty of food in the Food Bank, thanks to the generosity of Table to Table. During the power outage, they lent us their refrigerated truck, and we were able to save the majority of the food from our full cooler and freezer. We are so grateful to them for this act of community.”
Some partners were unable to save their fresh food. As we kept running food rescue routes amidst the chaos, T2T was able to replenish stocks. North Liberty Pantry shared,
“This week (and really every week), we are SO thankful for the wonderfully dedicated staff and volunteers at Table to Table for helping fill our fridge after derecho took out power on Monday. It’s been a trying year and we’re grateful for all the helpers.”
Additional Rescue Opportunities
While grocers were still out of power, they declined shipments of fresh food from vendors. We were able to recover more than 2,000 pounds of fresh produce from these rejected deliveries.
Juliann, T2T Gleaning Program Coordinator, headed to Cedar Rapids to help farming nonprofit Feed Iowa First get veggies out of their cooler and deliver them to the Coralville Food Pantry.
Hot Meals and Parking Lot Pantries
With a downed power line on their building, IC Compassion had no access to their facility or the food/supply resources inside. Wednesday morning, T2T delivered fresh food, refrigerated vehicles, and tables to help them set up shop in their parking lot. We were even able to store perishable food back at T2T headquarters overnight and return the next day. IC Compassion served more than 200 families this week, many of whom had been out of power for days.
On Wednesday, Elder Services requested assistance getting some emergency meals to a senior living community without power. Thanks to Pullman Bar & Diner, a stand-out in our amazing local restaurant community, T2T delivered 25 HOT meals within a couple hours of the request. This was made possible by the network established through the COVID-response Food With Love Project and the Community Foundation of Johnson County.
Continuing Support for Recovery
Gardeners and growers are dropping off produce and fruit recovered after the storm. And we received a call to rescue another couple thousand pounds of chicken, which we will be distributing in the coming weeks.
We also lent T2T vehicles and supplies to Johnson County Supervisor Royceann Porter and North Liberty City Council member RaQuishia Harrington to make relief deliveries to Cedar Rapids the weekend of August 15-16.
Did I mention we only canceled one route through all of this?
I think we’ll all be happy to see the backside of 2020, but we are certainly grateful to have the best team and your support to get us through.
The Iowa City Masonic Foundation really came through for the hunger relief network in our community and the 19,000 people that we fed this year. The IC Masonic Foundation match of $12,500 in donations kept the wheels turning on Table to Table’s 2.5 million pound food rescue operation.
In the span of a year, our two oldest food rescue vehicles reached the end of their utility after rescuing several millions of pounds of food during their tenure. Our vehicles are essential to route-based food rescue, daily delivering free food to area hunger relief partners. So, when we lost each vehicle, we used operating funds to purchase a replacement. This match challenge has doubled the impact and enabled us to fully fund the 2019 Ford Transit we’ve been using since July 2019. This food rescue vehicle has transported over 209,000 pounds of food from donor partners to local hunger relief organizations. Route volunteers have driven it over 5,300 miles on approximately 300 routes so far.
With a team of more than 400 volunteers and our fleet of eight food rescue vehicles, we rescued 2.5 million pounds of food in Johnson County last year. Wholesome food from more than 80 donor organizations was delivered to over 50 recipient hunger relief agencies serving 19,000 Johnson County residents struggling with food insecurity. We certainly couldn’t accomplish this feat without our outstanding volunteers and the community’s gracious support. Because of your $25,000 investment we will continue this good work with a vehicle that will deliver food for another 15 years.