This month’s #CSBAspotlight: Food For Free! This Central Square nonprofit will benefit from our 2017 Craft for a Cause Festival, so we stopped by to get the inside scoop on the organization with Executive Director Sasha Purpura.
Q: What does Food For Free do?
A: Our motto is “Bridging the gap between waste and want.” As a country, we throw away about 40% of the food that we grow. At the same time 1 in 9 people in Massachusetts struggle with hunger and in Cambridge we estimate that about 10,000 to 15,000 people use the emergency food system. So we focus on saving food that would otherwise go to waste and bringing it to the people who need it. The problem isn’t that people don’t have access to food — it’s that they don’t have access to healthy food.
On a daily basis, we have three trucks that drive around to farmers markets, local grocers like Whole Foods and Trader Joes, and other stores that regularly donate food to us to pick up their excess products. Stores are unlikely to sell any produce with less than a 3 day life span left on it, even though it’s still perfectly good. So we pick up that produce and deliver it to over 100 agencies in 11 Greater Boston cities that same day. This not only benefits those agencies, but has a positive economic impact by saving that food from going to landfills.
In addition to delivering to agencies, we also have a home delivery program, the Cambridge Weekend Backpack Program, pop-up markets in schools and parks, and the Family Meals Program.
Q: How long have you been located in Central Square and what do you love about being located here?
A: We’ve been located in Central Square since we opened in 1981. It’s such a tight community of business owners as well as people who live and work here. You always see familiar faces when walking down the street and everyone is very committed to improving the neighborhood together and supporting each other. It’s just a fantastic, vibrant community. A lot of our people see our trucks in the neighborhood and we also gain a lot of volunteers that way!