Recycler of the Year - Nonprofit: Urban Gleaners
Founded in 2006, the Urban Gleaners mission is to help alleviate hunger by collecting edible surplus food from grocery stores, farmers markets, farms, event sites, and restaurants that would otherwise be thrown away. They redistribute food to agencies that feed the hungry. Food is also distributed through their Food to Schools program in East Multnomah County, where 75-95% of elementary school children live below the poverty line. Their Food to Schools program serves children and their families at 23 elementary schools and four Section 8 housing complexes. For many of these children, school-subsidized breakfast and lunch may be their only meals of the day. Urban Gleaners fills this gap with food for home consumption.
On a weekly basis, Urban Gleaners delivers, all at no charge, up to 800 lbs of fresh food to each site, with an emphasis on whole grain breads, dairy products, and organic fresh produce so vital to the health of children. The Urban Gleaners Summer Free Farmers Markets feed these same families throughout the summer months. Additionally, with their Mobile Market van, they reach those in need throughout many of Portland’s food deserts.
Urban Gleaners currently collects around 60,000 lbs of fresh food each month and helps to feed upwards of 4,100 individuals. From the beginning, Urban Gleaners has been a sustainable operation. Each year, through the benefit of long standing supporters, they continue to expand their operation. They track their success and effectiveness a number of well-established assessment instruments. They feel that their success is measured by the number of children and families that receive their high quality fresh food and the number of pounds of food kept out of the landfill, all the while operating within an 8% overhead.