Leftovers Foundation Winnipeg keeping food out of the landfill

WINNIPEG — For some Winnipeg residents, food security and access to healthy food can be a challenge, but one foundation is putting in work to make sure no one goes hungry.

Leftovers Foundation started in Alberta, recently it was granted national funding status and made its way to Winnipeg.

“Our mission is to take food that would have otherwise been destined for the landfill that is still edible, still good, and capture it in time so it can go to the service agencies that are creating the hampers, and bag lunches and meals,” said Brandy Bobier, the city lead coordinator for Leftovers Foundation Winnipeg.

She said Leftovers Foundation has been operating in Winnipeg since October.

In February it will be moving into a warehouse space to increase its storage capacity and extend the life of food on the verge of going bad.

“We’re building out a small commercial production kitchen,” said Bobier.

“(We’ll) continue upcycling food and breaking down those big bulk packages that often get thrown out because they can’t be given out as is.”

Some Winnipeg restaurants have already joined the cause.

St. James Burger & Chip Co. was looking for a way to reduce food waste when they came across Leftovers Foundation.

Co-Owner Kevin Ramberran said he now gets a call every night asking if there’s any leftover food to give.

“My staff takes a look and if they think that we’re going to have some leftovers in the next half hour we say yes,” said Ramberran.

“We cook up the remaining fries that we have prepped, and we package up the chili, and then we get it together for them and a volunteer comes in (and) they pick it up.”

Ramberran said he didn’t get into the restaurant industry to throw away food, and he’s glad his leftovers are feeding people.

Some of the food from the Leftovers Foundation makes its way to the North Point Douglas Women’s Centre.

Executive Director Tara Zajac said they hand out more than 100 food hampers every week to people struggling with food security, and the fresh produce from Leftovers has been a big help.

“Potatoes, to onions, to green peppers, to lettuce; we’ve been able to top (the hampers) up,” said Zajac.

“Realistically, from the centre we don’t always have the funding and/or the space to keep these fresh ingredients or get these fresh ingredients.”

Leftovers has also been providing the North Point Douglas Women’s Centre with baby formula, which Zajac said is a difficult item to secure.

Bobier said Leftovers is always looking for volunteers to help pick up and distribute food donations, as well as additional food donors who want to reduce their waste and help out.

“Service agencies, if we haven’t contacted you yet, feel free to contact us cause I’m sure we’d be able to make a good match.” 

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