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  • Writer's pictureEpic-Cure,Inc.

The Almost Monthly Epic-Cure Newsletter July 2023



Operations


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 bottled water.



So far this year we have rescued 147, 969 pounds of water. (Note: this does not include soft drinks or juice – those are categorized as dry goods.) What does bottled water rescue look like for us? It can full pallets of a single kind, or it can be loose in banana boxes or watermelon bins.



We basically give it away exactly as it comes in. If we have multiple pallets, we give it away by the case. If it is loose, we either stock it on our shelves or drop a watermelon bin at the distribution, set a limit per family, and let the patrons help themselves.


We have researched bottled water waste, but there isn’t much data out there. ReFed has projections for food waste in the Ready-To-Drink Beverages category, however, they note that the estimates do not include water, soft drinks, and alcoholic beverages. At an estimated 6.2b pounds, Ready-To-Drink Beverages account for 3.4% of the overall estimated 181,942,361,132 pounds of food waste in the US in 2021.



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


Our truck drivers work tirelessly to rescue food!! Of the 588,090 pounds rescued in June, they did 59 pickups totaling 317,389 pounds.


The value of pounds in distributed by county so far this year:


Fundraising


Did you know that you can help raise money to support Epic-Cure’s mission by doing a Facebook

birthday fundraiser? Facebook sends you a little reminder about a month before your birthday - you can set your birthday goal and give it to your favorite non-profit " Epic-Cure”. It’s super easy to set up and a notice is sent out to all friends and family. Every effort counts! If you need assistance setting one up, please contact support@epic-cure.org.



Sustain U.®

Chef Mo


By Janet McNabb


Sunny usually asks me to interview one of our many outstanding volunteers, but this time it was different. “Please” she said, “interview Chef Mo.”


Epic-cure volunteer, Jim O’Brien came in to Forgotten Tonic, a restaurant on Aviles Street, to tell Chef Mo about the Sustain U.® students who would benefit from some work. Jim frequently informs them of volunteer opportunities. Owner John Moore agreed to hire one of the girls. Both he and Mo like to “pay it forward”.


Mo hired one of the girls first. After a week that girl said her cousin would like the same opportunity, so her cousin was hired. Soon her cousin asked if her sister could also work. All three Sustain U.® students were hired!


Mo encourages the girls with positivity, urging them to talk about anything, to call her at home

anytime. Her message is “We’re here for you!”. After their first week, Chef Mo was encouraged because they were starting to smile. Mo says the girls are all well mannered, follow directions, arrive on time, and working with them is fun.


With all their employees John and Mo keep talking positive. If there is someone with a problem, they do not give up on them. Mo feels people these days are so quick to give up on people. If they keep getting encouragement, sometimes a lightbulb goes off and change happens. If they can help one person, make it, and go on to a positive future they’ve accomplished their goal.


Mo makes sure the girls eat while they’re there, lucky girls! Their duties are prepping food such as sauces and soups. They typically work from 11 or 12 until 4 and work several days a week.


Now, a little about Chef Mo, this great gal who is changing lives. Raised in NYC, she wanted to be independent and earn money, so at the early age of 12 she started cooking at a Jewish deli. Her parents allowed her to work, but not on Saturday or Sunday, and only if she kept her grades up. She enjoyed drawing and painting too and studied at the Art Institute of Philadelphia. But she also continued to cook, and ultimately was able to train with a French chef.


Her grandmother in St. Augustine became ill, so she moved here to care for her. Eventually, in 2018 John Moore purchased Forgotten Tonic on Aviles Street and encouraged Chef Mo to come along. Chef Mo is vegan, so you’ll find vegan and vegetarian options on the menu. She and John collaborate when developing most of the items on the menu. They try to think outside the box, being creative with old standards and yet not being expensive. Her personal favorite is teriyaki tempeh. The most frequently ordered by customers is the “best hamburger in town” made with ground chuck, caramelized onions, havarti cheese, secret Forgotten Tonic sauce, and a pretzel bun.


In answer to my question “What would surprise people about you”, she answered that she likes to knit and crochet. And she still enjoys dabbling in art.


Forgotten Tonic is at 7 Aviles Street. Besides a very interesting menu they have a well stocked bar with many specialty drinks. And don’t forget dessert! Oh, yum! They love locals, and they take reservations. Decor features local art, twinkling lights and candles, brick and wood accents. What impressed me most was the conviviality and warmth of the staff among themselves and their customers.


Epic -Cure and Sustain U are thankful to John Moore and Chef Mo Gonzales for hiring these students and giving them the opportunity for a bright future.


Farm to Table Day


In partnership with Compassionate St. Augustine, we had a farm to table day for sixty 4th, 5th, and 6th graders at Webster Elementary.


Out in the school’s Gift Garden students tasted tomatoes, strawberries, and popcorn and observed and learned about the plants that produced them. They learned to make rosemary vinegar and painted a compostable pot and planted a sunflower in it to take home. At another learning station students observed and learned about the stages of a butterfly’s development, seeing butterflies in each stage.


Inside the school’s kitchen, with Epic-Cure’s team of cooks, students prepared a healthy meal that included tomatoes, strawberries, and corn all of which they saw growing in their garden beds. Campers ate the meal for lunch along with more popcorn and were able to take a meal home for their families. Erika Sands, the Director, wrote, “campers were completely immersed in the farm to table experience, it was very impactful.” Citizens making a difference!







In June, students at South Woods Elementary learned all about how to pack a well-rounded brown bag lunch, how to make a variety of healthy smoothies (tropical, berry, peanut butter, and one with added greens), and about healthy snacks with dips including humus, yogurt tzatziki, and yogurt ranch dip. They were very open to trying new foods and enjoyed taste testing. It was surprising to learn how many had never had carrots or grapes before!


They also learned how much sugar is in a 20oz soda (15 to 18 teaspoons). When you pour it in a cup and look at it, it makes you think - yikes.




We are in the middle of our breakfast series at the Boys and Girls Club. Here the kids are learning how to make French Toast. Who doesn’t love French Toast?







Volunteer Spotlight

By Janet McNabb


Jean Clapp


Would you ever have guessed that our brisk, always busy Jean played the drums in an all women rock band? They enjoyed practicing once a week and then playing at charity events. She’s full of surprises! That was in Rhode Island just before she moved to St. Augustine three years ago. Having retired, she moved down to be close to her family.


Jean retired from New England Institute of Technology

where she was a professor of computer networking. A full time job and family responsibilities kept her from volunteering, so when she moved to St. Augustine, she eagerly looked forward to finding her niche. Checking the St. John’s Volunteer website led her to Epic-Cure.


At first, she volunteered a few hours, but then she was asked to fill in as a driver, learned that

was something she liked, which has led to picking up at two Winn Dixie’s on Tuesday mornings.


On Tuesdays she also delivers food to the folks at Elwood, a small community off S.R. 16. Then she told Sunny she could donate two days a week, so now she is the warehouse manager on Fridays.


She is so pleased to be able to give back to the community. Realizing she has been given many opportunities when so many others have not, she is happy to help as much as possible.


One of her favorite things to do is to hop in the RV and toodle off to one of Florida’s beautiful state parks. She’s a member of a national group called the RVing Women’s Club. They go

camping as a group once every month.


A person who loves the outdoors, she enjoys playing golf once a week, plays pickle ball, and loves kayaking. Her favorite kayaking venue is Tomoka State Park.


One of her hopes is to someday join others with their RVs in rolling rallies, heading out west for a couple of months.


Epic-Cure appreciates your willingness and dedication to volunteering with us. You make a tremendous difference. Thank you!


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.


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.

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

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