Food Sourcing with the Food Dude!

By: Elizabeth Stahl, Communications Intern

This week for Friday Full of Fun,  I ran into Don and learned more about food recovery! Don Eli, better known as the “Food Dude,” is the Director of Food Sourcing for the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle.  In charge of finding companies and organizations that will donate food to the Food Shuttle, Don keeps busy.  Food recovery is how we began in 1989, and it's still an integral part of how we drive hunger from the community! I got to speak with the Food Dude briefly and asked him about his experiences.

Tell me a little about what you do.

I am in charge of food sourcing. I find donated food, food that our agencies need.  We don’t really purchase, but instead I find companies that will donate.

What are some examples of these food donors?

The Farmer’s Market wholesalers, farmers that have permits to sell at the Farmer’s Market, grocery stores, and retail stores like Wal-Mart and Target.

IFFS recently reached 3 million pounds of recovered food…could you tell us about that?

We started Wal-Mart last year and they are becoming more efficient in what they donate, there are fourteen stores now donating and also the Farmer’s Market has picked up during this growing season.

Can you tell us about the UPS Systems in our distribution trucks?

I was trained by Feeding America with the UPS System.  It’s a transportation logistics program that tells us how we should do our routes more efficiently.

Is food recovery different in the summer time?

Food safety is a bigger challenge because of the heat with perishable food.  We try to start early and are more selective with where we send the distribution trucks."

What is your favorite part about fighting hunger?

The satisfaction of knowing that the good food that comes in through donating will be helping people become food secure.

What is one thing you wished more people did?

I wish more people would understand the significance of nonprofits in our society.

Anything else?

Even though what we do is serious and we deal with depressing situations with people and society, we still have a lot of fun doing our job!

The Food Dude and the relationships he has made with our food donors keeps millions of pounds of food from landfills each year.  He plays a vital role at the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle! Thanks, Food Dude.