Leftovers Connects the Food Dots

Leftovers Foundation redirects more than 23,471 pounds of food $14,605 to more than 502 households during pandemic

During this tumultuous moment in time, the Leftovers Foundation is making sure nobody is left out.

The foundation, an organization focused on food security, offers food relief to low-income families all over the city. Its members collect food from restaurants and distributors, purchase fresh food, and redistribute it to ensure the basics are met for those in need. So far they have delivered $14,605 worth of food to more than 502 households with more than 1,071 fresh food boxes delivered. They’ve also redirected 23,471 pounds of food since March 12.

But it wasn’t easy.

“The pandemic really threw us for a loop,” said Leftovers Foundation City Coordinator Garnet Borch. “Multiple service agencies had to close down, as well as several of our donors. At the same time, the amount of waste being produced increased significantly as consumer demand and the food system fluctuated.”

On Sunday, May 10, Edmonton Community Foundation (ECF) donated $31,000 through its COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund (RRF) to the Leftovers Foundation in support of the group’s work in the community. ECF began strategic COVID-19 granting on March 19, which helped Leftovers get to those in need. And according to Nancy Peekeekoot, Team Leader and Wellness Coordinator for Pregnancy Pathways, her community was definitely in need.

“Being a regular recipient of the Leftovers program has been a lifesaver for our women and they are all incredibly grateful when there is a wide variety of fresh produce, meat and dairy, which they normally would not receive at the food bank,” Peekeekoot said. “The pandemic affected some of our women, as they were fearful of leaving the premises due to Covid. Some being either pregnant or having an infant put them at a heightened risk of fear.”

Sumaira Farooq, Essential Care and Volunteer Coordinator of the Islamic Family and Social Services Association (IFSSA), wrapped up Leftovers’ involvement in the community perfectly. She says that working with Leftovers to help those who need the association’s services is a blessing for the IFSSA. And  that sense of togetherness allows all of us to get through this trying time.

“True partnership has been at the forefront in dealing with the pandemic struggle,” Farooq said. “At IFSSA, we understand that the best work is built on collaboration; on the idea that sharing comes first and that it brings about abundance. We serve alongside others, as part of a vibrant community. As our teacher Malcolm X said, ‘When ‘I’ is replaced by ‘we’, illness becomes wellness’.”

Learn more about ECF’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic here.