EnviroMason

Food Donation and Climate Advocacy

Advocating Climate-Smart Public Policy

The issue of how to best reduce carbon emissions was hotly debated in Washington state in 2018. Chairman and CEO Gary S. Kaplan, MD, spoke in favor of climate-smart public policy. He noted that health impacts from extreme weather and climate-related events, air quality, and the transmission of disease are already affecting Americans and will continue to increase. He also defended existing mercury and air toxicity standards as critical to protecting vulnerable populations from dangerous pollution.

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Rescuing Good Food for People in Need

Sustainability and support of people in need are of special interest to Virginia Mason Food and Nutrition Services team members, Marc Allen, inventory and purchasing specialist, and Greg Neal, director. Recently, Marc noticed that some of the food being composted was of good quality and could be repackaged for donation to people or groups who needed the food. Greg and Marc connected with Chef Taran Graham of Seattle’s Food in Motion/Operation Sack Lunch (OSL), and began donating food to OSL on a regular basis.

“Giving food that can still be eaten to people who really need it is the best way to use these items.”

Food in Motion/Operation Sack Lunch has been in operation for more than 30 years. Open every day of the year, the group rescues and redistributes more than 120,000 pounds of food each month. Donated food is distributed to five kitchens in the Seattle area. Chefs take inventory of the donations and create three menus for the day. The food is then prepared, packaged and delivered to shelters, housing organizations, youth programs and outside meal sites in Seattle.

“Previously the food would be composted,” says Marc. “Giving food that can still be eaten to people who really need it is the best way to use these items.”

“The partnership with Food in Motion fits perfectly with Virginia Mason’s values,” adds Greg.

image descriptionLeft: Marc Allen, inventory and purchasing specialist, gathers food for donation. Center: Food in Motion chefs create delicious, nutritionally dense meals from donated food. Right: Meals are delivered to shelters, youth programs, housing organizations and to the Outdoor Meal Site, a secure environment created by OSL.
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