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  • Writer's pictureEpic-Cure,Inc.

The Almost Monthly Epic-Cure Newsletter August 2023



Awareness:

An easy, impactful way that you can help us is to please …


Save And Drop Off Your Grocery Store Plastic Bags.


You will help reduce waste by allowing us to re-use them. You will save us money by reducing the number we have to purchase.


Operations


“Volunteerism is the voice of the people put into action. These actions shape and mold the present into a future of which we can all be proud.”

-- Helen Dyer


Did you know that at a population of 74,521, we serve 4% of the people in Putnam County each week? Our volunteers help us achieve that and so much more.


A little over a year ago, we launched our online volunteer platform to help us track volunteer hours and the impact that those hours represent. We are still working on capturing all hours, but with what has been reported, you can see the value of what those hours of service represent so far this year.

  • $27.68 per volunteer hour = $379,935.

Note: If you need assistance signing up for opportunities or reporting hours, please contact


We have three opportunities we are actively recruiting for.

  1. Truck drivers in Palatka – varying schedules.

  2. Every Sunday from 8:00 am to 10:00 am, we could use 4 to 6 people to assist stacking, wrapping, and loading pallets at the Palatka warehouse. We do our largest mobile distribution at the Melrose Fire Station every Sunday serving over 300 families so your volunteer efforts will have an immediate positive impact in the community. And you'll get a good workout.

  3. The volunteer spotlight this month is about our distribution partner Marie McCloud. Every Friday, she and several other young at heart ladies could really use some help moving food from the truck to the building where they serve 100 families in Palatka. This opportunity is every Friday from 1:30 to 3:30.

People ask us all the time what types of products we get, and the answer is almost everything you see at every grocery store comes through our warehouses. This chart shows the percentage of overall pounds we process by category. In this edition of the newsletter, we are going to focus on dry goods.


At an estimated 21.7B pounds, Dry Goods account for 11.9% of the overall estimated 181,942,361,132 pounds of food waste in the US in 2021. We do get a small amount of residential donations, otherwise, the only sector we rescue food from is the retail/wholesale sector. Given how difficult it is to have enough quantities and varieties of dry goods each week, this is an area that could greatly use more education and improvement since only 19.11% is donated.



ReFed reports that the causes of dry good waste in the retail sector are (a) date label concerns and (b) “mistakes and malfunctions,” which we interpret as dented and damaged packages and cases.


Epic-Cure’s experience of this waste is all over the board. Our top reasons for receiving dry goods are (a) dented and damaged packages/cases/pallets, (b) items close to expiration dates, (c) products that are not selling or generating profits quickly enough, and (d) pallets that are dirty and dusty.


The food safety guidelines we follow regarding dry goods are:

  • Canned Goods:

o May be kept for up to one year past expiration.

o Cans that are swollen, rusty, leaky, opened, or have dents along the top or bottom edge of the can are to be discarded.

  • Boxed Food, Bagged Food, or Condiments:

o May be kept for up to six months past expiration.

o Boxes or bags where the outer packaging is torn but the food is sealed on the inside are still safe to be distributed.


Less than 1% of dry goods we receive do not pass inspection and get sent to farms to feed animals.


Insight Into Recycling


By Emily Grant, Senior Program Manager at Means Database


I went to visit the Single Stream Recyclers facility in Sarasota, Florida, to better understand the process of waste. I wanted to know - after I put out my recycling bin, what happens next? In areas with single stream recycling, once it is dropped off, an exceptional piece of equipment begins to sort the items, alongside human hands that pull out items that cannot be recycled, such as cling plastic, equipment, etc. The machine's belts move the items to separate areas, so the items such as aluminum, glass, paper, and cardboard, become crushed, pulverized, or put into bales. In Sarasota, recycled paper is created into a pulp that is then layered into the landfill. As for other items, it depends on the market if there is resale or reuse value. Currently, glass and aluminum have a great market, while single-use plastics fluctuate with their resale value. My best suggestions for home users: rinse your items, reduce single use plastics, and continue to recycle.


To view the recycling machine in action, visit: https://www.singlestreamrecyclers.com/




Here is our PIPS (Pounds In & People Served) Graph

Notes on the graph:

FEMA December 605,728

FEMA January 302,390

FEMA February 21,000

FEMA March 36,190



The last week of July saw a significant decrease in pounds in. There were a lot of resources that were diverted to back-to-school events.



People served are down due to the 4th of July holiday and The Simon’s House, our Flagler

Estates distribution partner, becoming an approved partner agency with Feeding Northeast Florida.

Now, they report people served and we converted them to an agency we serve. We record pounds of food we supply to other food pantries and soup kitchens.


So far this year, this is what we have shared:









Fundraising


Sustain U.® Cookbook


We are working on a cookbook fundraiser for Christmas. We would love to have local restaurants contribute recipes. If you are interested, please send it to support@epic-cure.org.


So far, we have recipe contributions from:

Lotus Noodle Bar, The Manatee Café, Crème De La Cocoa, and Harry’s


*** If you have any good title suggestions, we’d love to hear them.


A little help? … Mid-October Event Venue Needed


Epic-Cure is doing a joint farm to table fundraiser with Compassionate St. Augustine. Currently, Compassionate St. Augustine has three Gift Gardens in St. Augustine: one at the Webster School in West Augustine, one at Ketterlinus School on Orange Street and one in Lincolnville at the Veritas Classical School. Additionally, they have started a garden club at Veritas with the overarching theme “Growing to Serve”. All the produce is planted, cared for, and harvested by students, and it is donated to Epic-Cure.


We need a venue that has room for 60 guests. The students working in the garden will harvest produce that our Sustain U students and/or instructors will use to prepare a 3-course meal.


Please contact support@epic-cure.org if you have a venue we could use.


Save the Date – Shine A Light on Epic-Cure 5k Saturday, October 28th


More to come on this event soon.


The 3rd Annual Epic-Cure® Golf Classic


The golf benefit for Epic-Cure® is returning on the eve of Halloween. Costume contests! Cart decorating. Great food, and a great golf course: The Marsh Creek Country Club! Please join us – it is not your grandfather’s golf benefit!



Thank you to our long-time friends at Flagler Care Connect+ for signing up. We have a long and productive relationship with Flagler Care Connect+ and are honored that they are involved with our benefit again.


They are sponsoring the Beat the Pro event on the course.

Our first Gold Sponsor has signed up. We are pleased to welcome Marsh Creek Home Sales (Watson Realty) back as a Gold Sponsor of the benefit.

If you are interested in golfing or becoming a sponsor, please visit:


Sustain U.®


We wrapped up summer breakfast series at the Boys and Girls Club with Café Au Lait and Beignets and Omelets.





Volunteer Spotlight

By Janet McNabb


Marie McCloud


This afternoon I met with Marie at the Refuge Church of Our Lord in Palatka. Just one year ago this building was vacant and in disuse. Passing by, having had to detour off the Main Street, Marie saw the distressed neighborhood and the location and realized the possibilities. Now, with the help of Dr. Kevin Wiley, the pastor who is also a cardiologist at Baptist Medical, and the congregation, the building has been cleaned up and is the site of a lovely air conditioned chapel and a warehouse where every Friday for the past eight months a hot meal has been delivered to 90 -100 home bound seniors. Marie fixes the meals in her home, brings them into town and delivers them. The warehouse at Epic-Cure is able to supply most of the ingredients and disposable products she needs. She says Epic-Cure has been a lifesaver, somehow supplying just exactly what is needed.


A year ago she realized this section of Palatka, particularly around this defunct church, needed help. She has been a social worker much of her life, and her husband, Edward McCloud, was administrator of the Department of Children and Families for Florida. Her idea was to breathe new life into the area. She is co-chair of the Advisory Board of the Elder Option agency for sixteen counties. Funding comes from fundraisers and the McCloud personal resources. The warehouse part of the building has been broken into seven times. Equipment such as wagons, fans and lifters have been stolen. They are working with the Palatka Police Department to create a safer environment for the community and their volunteers.


It’s important to be able to know how to spot those really in need. She figures that out of 100 people, 65 are not really in need. But getting those really in desperate straits is a challenge because they have so much pride. Marie’s PhD in psychology is a big help there, distinguishing the needy from the greedy, and doing it without offending people.


Her parents were in the military, so she was raised mostly by her grandparents in this area. After high school she attended the University of Florida. After marrying Edward, the couple settled in West Putnam, FL where they raised eight children. They know how tough it is to feed a growing family. The kids thought Dad’s favorite piece of chicken was the back! Yet they were able to send all their children to college. Their children are all grown and doing well. Two are nurse practitioners, one is an RN, one LPN, one is a principal, another a regional manager for Frito-Lay, another works in concert with Disney, and one is a sales consultant. Eight years ago, she started work on her doctorate. After six years of sporadic study, Marie finally succeeded in her goal.


On July 22, she hosted a Chat & Chew in her home. Discussion will be on the newest laws and voting regulations, but also, she’s asking her guests to bring supplies for school.


On July 23, the Refuge Church hosted the annual backpack distribution. Marie is the Director of Community Outreach at the church.


The Youth Training Program (YTP) hosted its annual Scholarship Gala on May 27 honoring two dignitaries. The evening was a great success netting $7000. The agency has had other fundraisers giving them a total of $17,000 this year. College bound seniors were given “college ready” packs. YTP awarded two Book Grant scholarships. The Scholarship Gala was originally designed by the McCloud children to honor their father.


On August 2 a facility in Palatka that houses children who have run away or need an alternate

place to live called Interface was provided backpacks. The YTP plans to provide backpacks and school supplies as well as help refurbish the sleeping quarters on site, providing blankets and

pillows for the six girls bunks and six boys’ bunks. Pillows for this project are desperately needed.


On August 3 the YTP delivered back to school totes filled with school supplies to the teachers. Needed, in particular, are kinder mats for the little ones.


On August 5 at the Calvary Life Center in Palatka the YTP had a booth to hand out personal items and socks. Again, Epic-Cure has been able to provide most of these products. Several other agencies will also provide items promoting a bright and positive school year.


This year, as they have done every year in the past, YTP is seeking donations of winter ware for their annual Children Coats Giveaway.


Another YTP project is to supply home bound seniors with hurricane buckets; again, the buckets and the contents are mostly supplied by Epic-Cure.


When Marie told the Palatka Governing Board that she wanted to open a food distribution on the south side of Palatka, someone approached her during the recess and gave her Sunny’s number. She called, and Sunny made sure she had food that very week. Within two weeks they were able to clear out the warehouse at the church and start distributing food. Marie used to go to the warehouse to pick up the items she needed. Now Epic-Cure brings a truck every Friday to make a delivery. About six volunteers help unload it, bag it, and by 2 p.m. the line of distributors forms. One volunteer takes 25 bags to deliver to seniors in the high rise. It is now known as the Refuge Food Distribution.


During this heatwave various churches are reaching out to provide shelter for the homeless. Marie has partnered with them to prepare meals for the 12-19 homeless being housed.


In answer to the question, “What do you do in your spare time?”, she laughed and said there is no such thing. She did take a three day “sabbatical” recently so she could get ready for the Chew & Chat to be held in her home. She did confide that she is hoping to take off a week with

her husband later this year to just hop in the car and go exploring.


Being a two time cancer survivor, which has caused major organ damage due to massive amounts of chemo and radiation, has inspired Marie and impacted her to give back to those in need. It is her daily mission to be a blessing for some each day. She is amazed at Epic-Cure and feels so thankful and blessed to be part of it.


Dear Marie, we hope you do take that week off to relax and rejuvenate. Your energy and ideas seem boundless. What a wonderful asset you are to the community. Thank you!


Transparency:

Anyone who wishes to see Epic-Cure’s financial statements need only ask.

  • Our CPA-Audited fiscal year 2021 financial statements have been released and are available upon request.

  • Our CPA-Audited fiscal year 2022 financial statements have been released and are available upon request.

    • Will be available on our website soon.

  • Please email your requests to Sunny Mulford: sunny.mulford@epic-cure.org

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