ExtraFood.org’s mission: to help end hunger and waste in Marin County, California. 40% of all food is wasted in the U.S, which also creates an enormous environmental problem: if global food waste were a country, it would rank 3rd in greenhouse gas production after the U.S. and China. Yet 49,000 people worry about where their next meal is coming from in Marin.
ExtraFood fills a gap in the county’s food system by operating an innovative, county-wide food recovery program, picking up excess food from commercial organizations and immediately delivering it to nonprofits that serve Marin’s most vulnerable children, adults, and families.
Prepared food, produce, dairy/eggs, packaged goods, baked goods…we listen to our recipient partners’ needs, find donations of extra food that match, dispatch our volunteers online and by text message, and deliver the donations immediately after pickup. We operate 365 days a year, free of charge.
In 3 years our small staff and 200+ volunteers have delivered 1,000,000 pounds of food from 150+ businesses to 84 sites throughout Marin, including 15 new food programs we’ve started with our partners. We reach more than 5,000 people per month with our food deliveries.
We are helping solve the problem of hunger in Marin in three ways:
• Helping Marin’s nonprofit food programs be more effective in our shared work to get more healthy food to more people who are struggling with hunger. We’re addressing inequities and need by redistributing some of the highest-quality food in the world.
• Starting new food programs with our partners and expanding the safety net for Marin’s most vulnerable people.
• Creating synergistic partnerships with organizations that have complementary solutions to the hunger problem, such as SparkPoint Marin. SparkPoint provides financial counseling and job search assistance to low-income clients – helping them reduce debt, improve credit, increase savings, increase tax refunds, and find jobs. SparkPoint has found that their clients are much more able to make use of SparkPoint’s services when they and their families are not struggling with hunger. And, as word of SparkPoint’s new food program has spread, SparkPoint has gained new clients for their financial counseling program who were first attracted by the offer of food. ExtraFood is working with many organizations like SparkPoint to help vulnerable people lift themselves out of poverty.
And, we’re acting on the environmental aspect of our mission by reducing the massive impact of food waste on climate change: By keeping excess food out of the landfill, ExtraFood’s work has prevented more than 80,461 pounds of methane from entering the atmosphere.
We’re working toward the day when food recovery is a way of life in Marin, and the day when all in our community have the food they need.