By Scott Strasser, September 15 2016 —
The University of Calgary Students’ Union could soon partner with Leftovers Calgary, a not-for-profit organization that takes food before it’s thrown out and transports it to various service agencies around the city.
Founded in 2012, Leftovers now rescues 2,500 to 3,000 pounds of perishable food a week. The volunteer organization currently has 148 drivers who distribute rescued food throughout 36 different routes around the city.
“Basically what we do is we take excess food from different vendors — whether it’s grocery stores, markets, restaurants and bakeries — and we donate that food to service agencies that are in need,” said Leftovers founder and executive director Lourdes Juan.
The organization gained NPO status in 2015 and now boasts around 40 partnerships, including Co-Op, the Calgary Farmers’ Market, the Calgary Food Bank, the Mustard Seed, Inn From the Cold and the Calgary Drop-In and Rehab Centre.
After getting involved with Leftovers this summer, second-year biological sciences student Uzair Tazeem met with SU vice-president operations and finance Branden Cave to discuss the possibility of expanding Leftovers to the U of C.
“I talked to Branden and told him about Leftovers and he was interested and gave me a list of questions to ask [Juan] about how everything would work,” Tazeem said. “I sent the answers to Branden [Cave] and am currently
waiting on a response.”
Cave said the SU is currently looking into the likelihood of forming a partnership.
“We want to make sure that if we do this, it’s well thought out and feasible,” he said.
If the partnership is arranged, Leftovers would take perishable food from the MacHall food court and the U of C Dining Centre at the end of each day and transport it to the different food service agencies they currently work with.
According to Juan, Leftovers already has a similar set-up with the Students’ Association at Mount Royal University. She said they could start at the U of C with a pilot program.
“It will take a couple more meetings and hopefully we can get some vendors on board to start donating,” she said.
While the SU already has a composting program for leftover food in MacHall, Juan said there are many perishable food items that Leftovers could pick up from the U of C.
“As long as it is not buffet-style food we can donate it,” Juan said. “So a lot of the vendors in MacHall are eligible, if they have excess at the end of the day that they are not going to sell the next day.”