The Almost Monthly Epic-Cure Newsletter November 2022
Look for the 2nd installation of the Geopolitics of Food in about a week’s time. Remember, this is the ALMOST monthly newsletter!
Open Invitation – if you volunteer in St. Augustine, we’d love to have you join us in Palatka, and if you volunteer in Palatka, we’d love to have you join us in St. Augustine.
Amazon Smile and Epic-Cure: If you are an Amazon shopper and do not have a charity you are supporting with your purchases, please consider choosing Epic-Cure and login to Smile.Amazon.com when shopping. One percent (1%) of all purchases goes to support the charity you choose.
Christmas is coming: We’d love for any businesses that are willing and able to do toy drives for us. We currently serve about 1600 children each week so any help we can get with making their holiday special would be appreciated.
It has been a very positive, eventful month.
We passed our USDA inspection in Palatka, so in the first week of December, we begin receiving TEFAP (The Emergency Food Assistance Program) commodities in Putnam County.
We were awarded a $50k grant from Chubb Charitable Foundation which we can and will use for operating costs.
The Masters of Fire event raised $10k for us.
The dust is still settling on the golf event, but it was a success! For that event, we did a 2022 update to the video we currently have posted on our website. If you are interested in viewing it, the link is: Epic-Cure's New Update Video
We made the commitment to support the veterans at the 5 STAR Veterans Center in Jacksonville a long time ago. That commitment included teaching the veterans how to cook and providing all the kitchen equipment they needed when they transitioned into independent living. It was our privilege to have the opportunity to help a combat veteran that served in Afghanistan making a fresh start with nothing but a camping coffee maker.
The Church of Jesus Christ Latter of Day Saints donated a 26’ refrigerated truck to us.
On Sunday 10/9, Wendy Lantz and Jennifer Wills delivered a full kitchen set up and donated a houseful of furniture.
Here is our PIPS (Pounds In & People Served) graph:
Notes on the graph: Part of the increase this month is due to having 5 weeks of reporting rather than 4. But, the increased capacity to store (our freezers in Palatka) and transport (donated truck and team of drivers) food have been big contributors in helping us achieve more, especially for Putnam County. Between two open warehouse shopping days and mobile distributions in Pomona Park, Crescent City, and Melrose, we are now serving 1,200 families each week in Putnam County.
Notes on the data table below: Our Palatka drivers really stepped up their efforts, and in July, we had the first month where pounds in there exceeded what we were doing in St. Johns. Then, you can see the impact of trading in our leased 16’ refrigerated truck for a 26’ truck in August. With our freezers coming online in September, we gained the ability to store meat in Palatka. That was the first month the value of food distributed in Putnam exceed that of St. Johns.
The infrastructure we built in Palatka still has massive excess capacity, and we will now work on growing into it.
How value is calculated: FNF assigns a value to orders and mobile pantries. The values are determined by an independent auditor each year, hired by Feeding America. The entire report is about 85 pages and is not publicly available. To summarize, there are 29 different product categories that are used in a standard retail inventory system (deli, dairy, bakery, non-food, etc.) Each of these categories are analyzed and given an average value per gross pound. They use those audited values in their system to generate the estimated value.
All other values are calculated by assigning a value of $5.00 per pound for meat and $1.00 for all other food (deli, dairy, produce, dry goods and non-food).
On November 11th we will wrap up the cooking classes for the year. That will make 91 cooking classes in 2022.
It takes a lot of volunteers and hours teaching and working behind the scenes to make them work. We have a team that works on curriculum development. Candy Johnson creates all our ingredient "pull" and shopping lists. To keep the cost of the program down we rescue as much food as we can and shop the day of class for anything we couldn't source through food rescue. The teachers are the ones that do the shopping.
And then there are the dishes... We are ending on new program Lisa Chismark started for little kid cooking classes at Woodlawn Terrace. These pictures are of the class she taught in October. We had to share their happy, sweet faces.
By Janet McNabb
On a Saturday morning in the Palatka warehouse, Trinisha Austin was covering her usual spot, at the entrance, signing in patrons as they streamed in to shop. As she greeted them, she handed out an assortment of candy for the children. Some of the kids and a few of the adults were in Halloween costume. She knows most of the folks that come in. She’s been in charge of making appointments via telephone and text for a long time now.
Although she has had a full-time job in the courthouse for twenty-three years where she oversees the clerks, she manages to spend 20-30 hours a week volunteering here in the Epic-Cure. She’s always here on Saturdays, when about 385 families come to shop. On Friday afternoons if she can slip away early and use up some of her vacation hours, she’ll come to help too, as there are approximately 275 families arriving to pick up supplies.
Born and raised in the area, she has raised her family here. Ashanti, her daughter, works and goes to school in St. Augustine. Her son, Elijah, just graduated from high school, and sometimes comes in to help too. Her other interests are baking and couponing. But most of all she loves working with her church in Crescent City and helping in the community. When she leaves the warehouse, she frequently will take with her supplies for eight families in need in her hometown. She believes in helping people.
Her love of volunteering is obvious to Sunny, calling her as Superstar volunteer. Another comment from fellow coworker Donna is that Trinisha is inspiring and motivating, also very calm in crises. Epic-Cure is so thankful for your Superstar performance, Trinisha! Thank you!
Let’s go deep on landfills and food waste…
Why is this important? Annually, food waste is the largest component in landfills and accounts for 4% of U.S. and 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
At the USDA Food Loss and Waste Innovation Fair in September, they covered a wide range of topics including advances around food waste and greenhouse gas emission reduction through anerobic digestion, conversion to biofuel, rendering, and depackaging of food for composting (concerns around microplastics in soil are issues with that solution). Lots of great work going on in those areas.
We are going to share and comment on some informative slides from a presentation done by Anne Germain, Chief Operating Officer & Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs - National Waste & Recycling Association.
Percentage by Category of Landfill Mass:
In 2018 52.3% of yard trimmings and 6.1% of food waste were composted at Municipal Solid Waste facilities and 66.5% of paper & paperboard waste was recycled causing landfill tonnage to remain flat even with a population increase of 30% from 1990 to 2019.
EPA Landfilled Degradable Organics
Everyone is surprised to hear that it can take 25 years for a head of lettuce to decompose in a landfill. Preservatives, temperature, and moisture affect decomposition time. Higher heat and moisture levels speed up the process. You can see in this time capsule study the effects of moisture levels.
Bacteria decompose landfill waste in four phases. The composition of the gas produced changes with each of the four phases of decomposition.
The Four Phases of Bacterial Decomposition of Landfill Waste (note the Methane).
During the first phase of decomposition, aerobic bacteria—bacteria that live only in the presence of oxygen— consume oxygen while breaking down the long molecular chains of complex carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids that comprise organic waste. The primary byproduct of this process is carbon dioxide. Nitrogen content is high at the beginning of this phase, but declines as the landfill moves through the four phases. Phase I continues until available oxygen is depleted. Phase I decomposition can last for days or months, depending on how much oxygen is present when the waste is disposed of in the landfill. Oxygen levels will vary according to factors such as how loose or compressed the waste was when it was buried.
Phase II decomposition starts after the oxygen in the landfill has been used up. Using an anaerobic process (a process that does not require oxygen), bacteria convert compounds created by aerobic bacteria into acetic, lactic, and formic acids and alcohols such as methanol and ethanol. The landfill becomes highly acidic. As the acids mix with the moisture present in the landfill, they cause certain nutrients to dissolve, making nitrogen and phosphorus available to the increasingly diverse species of bacteria in the landfill. The gaseous byproducts of these processes are carbon dioxide and hydrogen. If the landfill is disturbed or if oxygen is somehow introduced into the landfill, microbial processes will return to Phase I.
Phase III decomposition starts when certain kinds of anaerobic bacteria consume the organic acids produced in Phase II and form acetate, an organic acid. This process causes the landfill to become a more neutral environment in which methane-producing bacteria begin to establish themselves. Methane-and acid-producing bacteria have a symbiotic, or mutually beneficial, relationship. Acid-producing bacteria create compounds for the methanogenic bacteria to consume. Methanogenic bacteria consume the carbon dioxide and acetate, too much of which would be toxic to the acid-producing bacteria.
Phase IV decomposition begins when both the composition and production rates of landfill gas remain relatively constant. Phase IV landfill gas usually contains approximately 45% to 60% methane by volume, 40% to 60% carbon dioxide, and 2% to 9% other gases, such as sulfides. Gas is produced at a stable rate in Phase IV, typically for about 20 years; however, gas will continue to be emitted for 50 or more years after the waste is placed in the landfill (Crawford and Smith 1985). Gas production might last longer, for example, if greater amounts of organics are present in the waste, such as at a landfill receiving higher than average amounts of domestic animal waste.
Methane has more than 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide.
Good developments - there are now 548 sites that have active gas utilization projects. Landfill gas utilization is a process of gathering, processing, and treating the methane or another gas emitted from decomposing garbage to produce electricity, heat, fuels, and various chemical compounds.
This is large and bold for a reason…
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 be saving us money by reducing the number we have to purchase.
FYI – we have not had to buy plastic bags in over a year thanks to you all. Before, we were spending about $150 a month on bags. Great job everyone!
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: firstname.lastname@example.org