Unique Initiative Trains Homeless Folks to Drive Vans to Rescue Food For Distribution Back in the Shelter
A unique collaboration between a trio of organizations in San Diego, California, reached a milestone in providing food and employment to those who need it most.
They also rescue perfectly-viable food that would’ve otherwise ended up in the landfill, while serving up a creative model that could be replicated across the country.
With funding from the Lucky Duck Foundation, The Salvation Army hires residents of its homeless shelter and trains them to be food rescue route drivers, who then operate routes for Feeding San Diego to pick up tasty food before it’s wasted.
The heartwarming partnership hit a milestone in June, announcing it had saved more than half a million pounds of food so far (227,000 kg), and every one of The Salvation Army residents who has participated in the program has secured full-time employment and is still housed.
Daniel Rocha who had been homeless for nine months jumped at the job opportunity to be a route driver. He picks up the food three times per week from grocery stores, like Costco and Vons, from Starbucks, and Amazon warehouses, among other businesses.
The food is then distributed to those in need—often to the residents back at The Salvation Army shelter.
“The uplifting program can potentially inspire similar collaborations elsewhere,” Foundation spokesperson Brian Hayes said.