We’ve all heard the expression, “Don’t waste food while people are hungry.” We agree — and we’re acting on that value through our Food Recovery Program (FRP).

According to the USDA, 30 to 40 percent of the food supply ends up as “waste.” The surplus from farmers, grocery stores, and food distributors is our treasure: It is high-quality food that can be recovered to address hunger in Alameda County. Since ACCFB launched our Food Recovery Program in 2012, we have rescued the equivalent of 24 million meals, including nearly 7 million pounds of food from local retailers in FY22 alone.

One of our FRP partners, the East Oakland Collective, serves more than 200 people each week at their pantry — primarily low-income families, seniors, people with disabilities, and expecting mothers. The Collective provides community members with fresh food in a neighborhood with few healthy options.

“It’s more than a food desert, it’s food apartheid,” said Candice Elder, Executive Director of the East Oakland Collective. “There are societal structures in place that prevent people from getting fresh food. The Food Recovery Program allows us to create food sovereignty, so community members have control and access to fresh produce, groceries, and even flowers and plants from Trader Joe’s.”

“Flowers are a treat for community members: They are beautiful and immediately put a smile on people’s faces,” she added. “It takes the Food Recovery Program up several notches so that it’s not a charity experience, but instead feels like going to a market, just like anyone else.”

Read more in our 2022 Annual Report.