Hunger is a community health crisis in the North Bay. In normal times, 1 in 5 people in our community worries about where their next meal will come from; during COVID, the need has skyrocketed. And many people lack sufficient access to healthy, fresh food, particularly in the Canal, Marin City, and West Marin.
Despite the fact that so many people are struggling, 35% of all food is wasted and food is the most plentiful material in landfills. To make matters worse, decaying food in landfills releases methane, a gas 86 times more harmful to our atmosphere than carbon dioxide. The annual global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from food waste are twice the annual GHG emissions from all of the cars in the U.S. and Europe.
ExtraFood addresses these issues of hunger, food waste and climate change by filling the gap between those who have excess food and those who need it. Through our county-wide food recovery program, we find and deliver donations of excess fresh food from businesses and schools that match vulnerable people’s most pressing needs. With our small staff and hundreds of volunteer “food runners,” dispatched online and by text message, we reach 8,000 people throughout the county every week, rescuing and delivering food 365 days a year -- nearly 6 million pounds of high-quality food since our founding in 2013.
We couldn't do our work without the support of investment partners like Marin’s Gruber Family Foundation. Chris Dunham, Executive Director, says, "ExtraFood is making an impact in Marin in many different ways...social safety nets are using ExtraFood as one of their main resources to get food on the table for families in need…. [and] as a former science teacher, I know what happens when food goes into the landfill and just sits there -- it contributes to global warming. So we absolutely want to help keep ExtraFood growing into its next chapter."
Another longtime supporter of ExtraFood is Bank of America. Amy Loflin, Senior Vice President, says, "ExtraFood is a unique organization because they operate much like a tech startup but they're disrupting the issue of hunger through food rescue. The way that they utilize all available resources to empower volunteers is innovative as well as inspiring. The Bank of America Charitable Foundation focuses on economic mobility and social progress. That is why we form partnerships with organizations like ExtraFood so that together we can address issues like food and basic needs to help people find stability."
ExtraFood receives far more requests for food than we have supply, and yet so much fresh food is still thrown away. Investments in ExtraFood will accelerate enrollment of businesses and schools in our program, build our capacity to rescue and deliver increased quantities of fresh food, and expand our distribution channels to reach more vulnerable people where they live, work, and learn.
From families who have lost their jobs during COVID, to seniors who are isolated and living on a fixed income, to children needing nutritious food to learn and thrive, tens of thousands of people in our community are facing hunger. When you support ExtraFood, you create triple impact: on hunger, on the massive effect of food waste on the climate crisis, and on permanently changing the North Bay's food system -- from wasting food to donating it.
Working together, we can end hunger, end food waste, and fight climate change, right here in our community.