Please watch the movie “Wasted: The Story of Food Waste.” You can watch it on Amazon or Netflix. Or, you can "check out" a DVD at our warehouse.
• Palatka warehouse update: The contract with the roofing contractor has been signed. Once we get on their schedule, we’ll get the warehouse ready in short order.
• We added one new store pick up and one new distribution – both on Saturday.
• We added a new food source – Waste Not Florida.
• There are 5 high volume stores available to us. We are working on the logistics of integrating pick up and distribution for them and will only take on those that we have capacity for.
• We joined a newly forming Rotary club – The Saint Augustine Sunset Rotary. Their focus is food insecurity and drug addiction. All of the members are joining our Facebook Volunteer Group and will be active volunteers for Epic-Cure. Looking forward to seeing how this new resource/relationship develops.
• Five Star cooking class 1/16: Chef Brian Dowd and volunteer Ken Mulford held a class for seven veteran residents of the 5 Star Veterans Center in Jacksonville. The topic of this class was: knife skills. Each veteran attending the class was provided a chef’s knife, a paring knife, a utility knife, and a cutting board. While chickens cooked away, Chef Brian demonstrated proper cutting technique, and the vets all chopped vegetables for what turned out to be a delicious chicken and vegetable soup. Our veterans did a remarkable job, and each came back for seconds (and some for thirds).
• On December 5th, the Saint Johns County Sherriff’s Office volunteered with Epic-Cure to distribute food to good people at the Saint Augustine High School.
- The SJC Sherriff’s Office has promised to launch a fundraiser targeting $75,000 for a new refrigerated truck – “reefer truck.” So far, they’ve raised almost $10,000.
- Epic-Cure thanks Sherriff Hardwick and all of the great volunteers at SJCSO!
• What we see when we look at this… While we were 1 of the 300 partner agencies, we accounted for 9% of the 30.8 million pounds distributed. We also accounted for 5.6% of the 1,400 mobile food pantries and 2.8% of the 600,000 share meals which we delivered to the homes of seniors, children, and the most vulnerable of the population. I also see that only 0.9% of the food came from distributors. From experience, we know that this is a largely untapped resource. So, add to the 2021 mission to get access – for us and FNF – to more distributors!
Notes on the graph:
• People served was down in January due to stimulus checks and supply shortage for mobile food pantries. The stimulus check impact lasted about 3 weeks but as of the end of January we are back up to pre stimulus numbers.
• Pounds in were down due to 3 end of route trucks not coming and temporary supply issues making mobile food pantries limited.
• End of route trucks are when FNF uses a refrigerated semi-truck in their fleet to pick up from anywhere from 5 to 8 stores including high volume stores like Costco and BJ’s and drop if off at our distribution locations. To receive those you have to agree to distribute the day they arrive. We receive 2 a week – one that serves the Summer Breeze Apartments, AMVETS, VFW and SAYS on Mondays and the other serves our Thursday warehouse shopping distribution. The 1/4 truck didn’t come because FNF had to restock after being closed for a week due to the holiday, 1/18 was a holiday for FNF and the 1/28 truck didn’t come because FNF had an employee test positive for COVID so they had several drivers quarantined while they waited for test results. The shortage of drivers that whole week had us on a roller coaster of significant shortage of food and scrambling to source more and then a massive intake of food on Friday - 75,000 pounds in 1 day. We had it all given away by Sunday.
• This video link shows what our end of route distribution looks like at Summer Breeze Apartments (section 8 complex in south St. Augustine). https://youtu.be/l5Fs2lrh1GU
• Mobile Pantries are when FNF has approx. 11 pallets (10,000 pounds) of presorted food. They deliver to the location you register for. When the food arrives it typically takes about 30 or 40 minutes to get set up for a drive through distribution. Due to supply issues, FNF limited each agency to only 1 of those in January. Thanks to the Coronavirus Relief Funding, there are large quantities of food available now so we have scheduled 7 for February with our first ever in Duval County.
• The Feeding America 2020 Annual Report states that of the families served in 2020 40%, due to the pandemic, were seeking charitable food assistance for the first time in their lives. We are tracking that about 27% of our patrons have lost jobs or hours due to Covid. In January, 16% of the people we served visited one of our food distributions for the first time.
• In 2019 Feeding America and all of its partner agencies rescued 3.6 billion of the 72 billion pounds of estimated food waste. In 2020, they were up to almost 4 billion pounds of food rescued. Long way to go still.
• To hear about ongoing volunteer opportunities, please join our Facebook Volunteer Group. Charity Roberts, our volunteer coordinator, posts details about our needs every week.
Grants & Fundraising:
• Jimmy Jam Community Outreach raised $13,283 for Epic-Cure at their BBQ competition and Fundraiser on 1/30. This is perfectly timed, because our grant to cover the cost of the refrigerated truck rental (we have the one we own and the one we rent) just ran out. We are putting this donation towards leasing the truck for 3 years.
- Leasing the truck will reduce our cost from $1,000 a week (not including insurance) to $1,700 a month (including insurance).
- You may ask why we didn’t do the lease sooner, and the answer is we tried but because we hadn’t been in business for three years we didn’t have the credit record required to lease. They are allowing it now, although we have only been in business for 2 years, because we have an eleven month payment track record with them.
• Received donation from a private donor to purchase a forklift for our Palatka warehouse.
• Received donation from Kenworth of Jacksonville to purchase the freezer unit for the Palatka warehouse.
• We now have $385 in monthly recurring donations. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot but that’s $385 we can count on to cover our operating costs each month.
Anyone who wishes to see Epic-Cure’s financial statements need only ask.
· Please email your requests to Sunny Mulford: email@example.com
Behind the Scenes
There are so many volunteers working behind the scenes making Epic-Cure work. Just to give you an idea of what goes on beyond food rescue and distribution:
1. Charity Roberts volunteers for pretty much everything, but behind the scenes as our volunteer coordinator and social media guru.
2. Michele Anderson manages weekly mobile distributions to Summer Breeze Apartments, AMVETS, VFW, SAYS and Mt. Moriah Church.
3. Trucking industry professional Eric Bierman, President of Cool Jax Transport, is advising on utilization of warehouse space and refrigeration capacity.
4. Industry expert Denny Ross, owner of Kenworth Jacksonville, is advising on refrigerated transportation capacity building and is volunteering his time directing contractors on the concrete pad and footing needed to situate our freezer container unit (that he and his wife are donating to us) in Palatka.
5. Linda McDonald and Mary Newman add all of our patron sign in sheets and volunteer hours and report totals. This process is highly time consuming and requires great patience and greater still attention to detail, which is why we have engaged programmers to build us a Sign-In App for the Apple iPads we recently purchased.
6. Jean Clapp is managing our IT project of installing the patron sign in and volunteer hour tracking apps. And, she takes SNAP applications.
7. Mimi Heimsoth is researching available grants. She gives a summary of those we may qualify for and the programs they might apply to.
8. Maureen Winkler is doing the evaluation of our insurance policies and getting competitive bids for renewals.
9. Amy Catanzaro manages our email databases for volunteers and subscribers and issues all donation receipts.
10. The UNF Senior Programming Class is in the final stages of developing our inventory management program for the Palatka warehouse. It will be ready for testing on 2/15.
11. Stephanie Infante fields calls that come in from our main phone line.
12. Diane Hazel and Annette Vajda take calls for and manages the Thursday shopping appointment schedule.
Game Changers Coming… Excerpt from the Feeding America 2020 Annual Report
In June 2020, we expanded our MealConnect platform, making it the first food-rescue technology available nationwide for all food businesses. With the MealConnect enhancement, it is now easier to facilitate safe and quick donations from across the food supply chain to network members. In fiscal year 2020, MealConnect was used by 115 food banks to process 1 million donations—resulting in more than 500 million pounds of donated food for neighbors in need. Work is underway to create a robust platform that sources across all food streams and digitally connects food banks and agencies nationwide. Since its inception in 2014, MealConnect has helped us rescue more than 2 billion pounds of food. In collaboration with four food banks, we co-developed and began scaling Feeding America’s first direct-to-neighbor digital platform:
OrderAhead. This click-and-collect technology enables people to use their phone to order groceries from a food bank and pick them up at a convenient location. In addition to groceries, the application has the potential to offer SNAP assistance, nutrition education, and/or advocacy/research opportunities.
Project Foresight explores how trends in the food system, environment, economy and technology might influence how we meet the needs of our neighbors facing food insecurity in the coming years. By looking into the future, we can imagine new roles to support greater community food security, enable leaders to anticipate changes in the American landscape and uncover opportunities to work differently and with greater impact.
With network members and external partners, we tested a collaborative sourcing prototype that uses machine-learning algorithms that enable food banks to more effectively reallocate
large-scale donations of perishable food such as fresh produce. We also co-developed tools to help improve particularly challenging food rescue situations such as identifying a
nearby recipient for a grocery store donation. By marrying the algorithms with food sourcing and logistics processes, we hope to accelerate the evolution of supply chain systems.