What began as a way to salvage food, has turned into a fight against hunger.
The Yellowknife Food Rescue team has been around the community for almost a decade, rescuing food from grocery stores and delivering it to charitable organizations who struggle to feed the hungry.
After years of offering the service around Yellowknife, Yellowknife Food Rescue has eclipsed roughly $5 million in forgotten nutrients.
The group has been keeping track of the weight of recovered food since the inception of the not-for-profit organization. The 2016 to 2017 hauling season was especially rewarding for the group seeing as they recovered over 170,000 kilograms of food. The federal government estimates one kilogram is worth $4.40.
It’s estimated one human consumes 2.6 kilograms of food per day. Therefore, the amount of food salvaged by Yellowknife Food Rescue could feed up to 300 people a day in total.
Chris Hunt, who has been on the board of directors for Yellowknife Food Rescue since 2016 said last year another record was nearly set during a food pick-up.
“On my second day of working with food rescue we picked up two cube vans full,” said Hunt. “It was from the Co-op grocery store and it weighed over 2,000 kilograms.”
Hunt added last fiscal year, the monumental one million kilogram mark was reached.
Food Rescue delivers goods to 15 to 20 organizations that rely on the service.
Groups such as the Salvation Army and Yellowknife Women’s Society have been the beneficiary from Food Rescue’s service.
Society executive director Bree Dunning said Yellowknife Food Rescue feeds up to 54 people a day and also provides enough food to fill 10 hampers.
“I don’t know whether we would sustain ourselves if it wasn’t for Food Rescue,” she said. “I know for a fact we would not be able to provide the hampers.”
Margaret Henderson, a volunteer at food rescue since the beginning of its existence said the goal of ending the hunger problem in Yellowknife is the group’s top priority.
“It’s wrong to just waste food,” she said. “We give out food to some of our clients two-to-three days a week.”
“We see about four-to-five loads of food a week,” said Salvation Army Ministry unit leader, Byron Hardy. “If we didn’t have the service we would have to buy our own food … the amount we would have to spend is beyond expectation.”
The group does shut down for holidays and weekends. However Hardy and Dunning both agree the generosity of everyday people helps to get them by. In Hardy’s case, Yellowknife Food Rescue always keeps the Salvation Army stocked well beyond the next delivery.
Although the group has eclipsed the $5 million mark in total food rescue, Henderson added this fiscal year’s haul will potentially have smallest weight in over five years.
She claims food rescue is pretty much “maxed out” on their current clientele and does not have the space needed to accommodate more business.