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  • Writer's pictureEpic-Cure,Inc.

The Almost Monthly Epic-Cure Newsletter May 2023



Epic-Cure’s 2023 Capital Campaign

Building Acquisition: To Create a permanent and sustainable presence in St. Johns County to help the most vulnerable in our community.


We have identified a site and have negotiated with a builder that is willing to construct a 10,550 square foot warehouse with the required three-phase electrical capacity. This building will house Epic-Cure’s St. Johns County operations as well as provide space for our Sustain U.® Cooking Classes and Hopefull Handbags, who has been our warehouse mate for years now.


The site is located on Inman Road in St. Augustine, just off SR-16 near I-95 (exit 318) and is ideally situated for logistics – ready access by trucks for food and household goods collection as well as safe access by surface roads (35 mph) for staff, volunteers, and patrons (recipients).


The building will cost $1,998,500 (includes construction and build-out costs) and will take approximately six to eight months to construct once some additional permitting has been achieved.


To date, we have raised $9,775 towards our Capital Campaign goal.


Don’t Forget to Support Us at Masters of Fire & Ice:



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 bakery.



8% of year-to-date pounds is 171,693 pounds of bakery. That is a LOT of bakery. If you divide that by the number of families served so far this year, that is over 5 pounds of bakery per family per week. Rather than giving people more than they can use, which results in food waste, we have started sharing bakery “upstream” to Feeding Northeast Florida so that they can share it with other agencies to spread it over more counties. And, honestly, we have had to send a fair amount to the farms to feed animals. But, in the food recovery hierarchy pyramid (EPA), that is the next best use for it after you’ve given as much as you can away to people.


When you look at Breads & Bakery surplus on the national level, you can see why we don’t want to give people more than they can use since home level (residential) waste in this category is so significant already.




Our observations on this category are that freshness and appearance of abundance are big drivers of food donations on the retail level. On the wholesale level, it is more about overstock.


As improved analytics and studies come out about food waste, the picture keeps looking grimmer. Sources on food waste (Feeding America, USDA, ReFed) now estimate food waste to be 38% of total food produced in the US. The progression of food waste estimates over the last 4 years are:


2020: 72 billion

2021: 108 billion

2022: 108 billion

2023: 160 billion


New data estimates waste by sector as:




Those estimates are projected to get worse before they get better since the farm sector is underestimated at 17% as it only includes produce and nuts. It does not include dairy, meat, seafood, commodity crops, etc. But, we know from the March newsletter that:


Currently, about 12% of beef, 16% of pork, and 17% of dairy products go uneaten.

  • At 12% of beef, that is 3,150,084,000 pounds wasted in 2020. Yes, that is more than three billion one hundred and fifty million pounds of beef. Say that number out loud and let it really sink in.

  • At 16% of pork, that is 6,480,053,280 that went to waste in 2020. Using words again, that is more than six billion four hundred and eighty million discarded pounds of pork.

Together, that is 9.63 billion pounds of meat wasted.


If you are interested in learning more about Measuring Food Waste: New Estimates, New Insights, New Opportunities, this is worth watching:



We covered produce in the last newsletter, but we want to talk about new estimates on produce that is Not Harvested, since it is so significant.



Imagine how far we could go solving hunger and improving health if we could access that produce. One big step in that direction is through gleaning.


Gleaning is the act of collecting leftover crops from farmers' fields after they have been commercially harvested or on fields where it is not economically profitable to harvest.


We have made working with The Society of St. Andrews and gleaning local farm fields a priority. In the last 4 weeks alone, volunteers have gleaned 2,300 pounds of broccoli and 3,100 pounds of potatoes.


Here is your opportunity to be part of the solution.


For the next 4 weeks, every Tuesday at 9am, the Society of St. Andrew is working with the UF/IFAS Research farm. Agencies are allowed to send volunteers to package already harvested potatoes into 5-10lbs bags. Volunteers will then transport the bags to agencies of their choice.


Volunteers are encouraged to bring trucks to these events, as the more the vehicle can hold, the more we can get you. Box trucks are not permitted during this glean.


To register to pack and transport potatoes, visit this link: Society of St. Andrew - Gleaning


Pictures of 2 of our volunteers, Michele Anderson and Norman Biegner, at the last gleaning on Tuesday, May 2nd. They were each able to load their trucks with about 1,400 pounds of beautiful potatoes.



Check out the latest pictures of the Palatka garden project:



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


While February was a very difficult month in the food rescue world, we were right back up to our “normal” volumes in March at 546,003 pounds and 483,640 pounds in April. That brings us up to 2.2 million pounds of food rescued and distributed this year at a wholesale value

of $4.6 million dollars.


At our current volume, number of days and timing of intake days in the month can make tens of thousands of pounds in difference which is why we consider March and April “normal”.


Fundraising

Thank you to everyone who contributed on St. Augustine Giving Day. We were able to raise $14,780 to help fund our operations. While we apply for every grant that comes across our desks, we rely heavily on the public to help fund our day to day operations (rent, utilities, insurance, trucks, fuel, etc.). We couldn’t do it without you.


If we fail in any way to properly thank anyone, please know that we live our mission to take urgent, immediate, and continuous action to end food waste and hunger. We are a 100% volunteer organization. We spend 100% of all donations received to accomplish that mission.


That is how we show our appreciation. By working hard to do what we promised to do with your support.


Sustain U.

We wrapped up our Spring classes at the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic on April 24th.

We are looking forward to starting our next session in the Fall.




Volunteer Spotlight

By Janet McNabb


Volunteer Spotlight

Linda Lee


Here’s a quiz: Who among our volunteers speaks five languages (some better than others) and is working on a sixth, has lived in several other countries, has retired three times, and now averages 30 hours a week volunteering at Epic-Cure? You guessed it! Our very own Linda Lee in our Palatka facility.


Her husband is a retired Air Force pilot which is the reason they’ve lived all over the world and the reason she knows Spanish, French, German, Dutch, and English. Now she is learning ASL sign language using online courses.


During her life her careers have been in marketing at AT&T, as a mural artist, and in a tearoom enterprise. She has taught art and is a custom cake designer and tells me she has created some “hanging cakes” …I’m still not sure what that is! Her tearoom was in Longwood FL, and in Windemere in Orlando she spent thirteen years up on a scaffolding ladder painting murals on walls and ceilings in custom home interiors.


They’ve lived in Florida for 20+ years and here in this area for two years in a fly-in air park. She and her husband have two children and two grandchildren.


Linda believes in forward movement. She likes to give back, bettering the community, and gets enough physical activity by volunteering that there’s no need for a gym membership. She sees an ever increasing need in the community for food resources. First it was Covid, now it’s inflation. She loves being interactive with the clients and enjoys working with the fabulous volunteers.


Here's one thing you’d never guess about her: she won a grape stomping contest at a winery!


Her motto: “Old age cannot hit a moving target.”


Well, Linda, we’re all having a hard time keeping up with you. We are so pleased to have you involved in Epic-Cure. Your hard work and dedication are inspiring and appreciated. 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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