Food Net is a non profit, volunteer run organization, whose slogan is "Tummy fill, not landfill". They encourage stores and food businesses to donate the produce and foods that they are about to throw away, because they're at or past sell by date, then they let people come and take a portion of it for free, at particular pick up points on particular dates. There are many locations throughout the city and many times through the week.
We went yesterday. Rene and I were each allowed to sign up, so we got double the amount. We brought our bags and just filled up with what they said we were allowed. The only things that weren't in fantastic condition were tomatoes and bananas and bell peppers. The tomatoes worked fine in a sauce for enchiladas last night and and the bell peppers will most likely go in a sauce too. Or a curry. The bananas were perfect for banana bread, which I also made last night and enjoyed a slice of this morning for breakfast.
Additionally, we got 3 packs of donuts (not so healthy, but the kids were thrilled!), 2 heads of lettuce, 2 bags of salad, 1 large potato, 1 bag small potatoes, 3 turnips, 1 summer squash, 1 bag green beans, 1 package broccoli, 2 avocados, 1 slice apple pie, 1 cinnamon bun thingy, 1 poppy seeded artisan loaf, 1 pack sprouted wheat bagels and 1 round pesto bread thingy (which tasted great with butter and mozzarella, then put in the oven for a bit last night, to go with the enchiladas and salad. All for free. And we were doing our bit for the environment, by saving it from the landfills.
It was also an enjoyable experience, all huddling together outside in the cold, waiting for our number to be called to go inside the church and collect the goodies. There were people of all different ages, cultures, shades, colors, accents and no doubt fascinating stories to tell. Everyone was extremely friendly, open and helpful. There was a spirit of community like you just don't feel when you're walking through Hyvee with the posh folk.
I'm thinking we'll be doing this a lot more often! I wish every city had one.