Where does Leftovers deliver food?
We deliver around 3,000 pounds of food a week. There are 55 different food vendors that we work with between Calgary and Edmonton and deliver to 32 different service agencies across both cities. The food goes anywhere from the Mustard Seed and the Drop In Centre to smaller schools in marginalized areas for the families that go there.
How big is the Leftovers team?
We are 100% volunteered powered, there is myself and 10 others on the executive team and 155 drivers who make the dream work. We have more people who have done one off pick-ups and deliveries as well. It takes a village to work around complex issues like this one and we are just scratching the surface. Redirecting food is just the start.
Where do you see Leftovers going?
The company wants to tackle the root cause of food waste and food insecurity. For food waste it starts at a policy level. We have engaged the school of Public Policy at the University of Calgary, where we have a student working on a capstone project trying to wrap her head around where we can engage Leftovers on a bigger level. We need policies that say grocery stores and coffee shops aren't allowed to throw away food, they need to triage it in a way so that it either gets brought to those in need, composted, put into animal feed or something along those lines.
What organizations are a part of Leftovers in Calgary?
Out of the 55 we have on our list the big ones for us are Blush Lane, Calgary Farmers Market, and Bridgeland Market. They have been really supportive of the program.
Are there plans to bring larger grocery chains into the program?
Of course! It's a little tricky when you are dealing with them because they view the donation as a liability.
There is something called a Charitable Food Donation Act which states that if you are donating food without ill intent, you can donate it without holding onto any liability. In Calgary all the partnerships we have built were done through face to face interactions and that is hard to do when most larger companies have head offices in other parts of Canada or America. It all just takes time.
How can people get involved with Leftovers?
Everything is online! We have a volunteer sign-up sheet that you can fill out if you want to help drive food to service agencies. We try to make every route less than 20 minutes so it's easy for people to commit to. There is also a place where you can donate money which all goes to funding programs within Leftovers. In addition to that, all of our executive team can be reached by email if you have any specific questions.
50 cents from every bottle of TrueBüch Vanilla Chai sold goes to Leftovers YYC. The money we raised this year went to buy a refrigerated truck. This truck allows them to pick up more produce and dairy and distribute it to those in need as well as larger food donations that can't fit into cars.