On June 10th, some of Boston’s most acclaimed chefs join food and television personality Andrew Zimmern to support Lovin’ Spoonfuls, a food rescue organization in Massachusetts, at a Pop-Up Dinner. In an absolute case of “This is not your mother’s stuffy fundraiser’, Lovin’ Spoonfuls founder Ashley Stanley reveals, “On Tuesday night, we’re bringing so many different kinds of people together — to support our work, support their community, experience and share food, and have a great time. We’re beginning with great friends of Lovin’ Spoonfuls (Josh Smith of Moody’s, Michael Scelfo of Alden & Harlow and Louis DiBiccari of Tavern Road), presenting delicious small plates of charcuterie, an incredible-sounding strawberry and parsnip dish, and delicious crudo.” Four courses prepared by chefs Zimmern, Jamie Bissonnette, Matthew Jennings, and Joanne Chang follow. The event will also feature a photo booth, a meet and greet with all the chefs, signature cocktails created by OffSite and others, wines selected by MS Walker, craft beer from PEAK, TJ Connelly spinning on the decks. More than that, though, this is a terrific opportunity for folks to join in the fight against hunger and food waste.
Lovin’ Spoonfuls was founded in 2010 and is dedicated to facilitating the rescue and distribution of healthy, fresh food that would otherwise be discarded. This food is then delivered to community organizations and resources where it can have the greatest impact, such as homeless shelters and soup kitchens. Founder Ashley Stanley started Lovin’ Spoonfuls after learning how much food is thrown away, both in the U.S. and abroad, and realizing, “Wasting so much food in the face of what has felt like an unsolvable problem (hunger) has gone unaddressed.” She took to the streets, observing how much waste local supermarkets were producing and, then, tapping her skills as a former Division I soccer goalie, she stood in front of a dumpster “and tried to make the save.”
Since then, Lovin’ Spoonfuls has grown from Stanley and her car (and, presumably, her goalie gloves) to a fleet of temperature-controlled vehicles and seven full-time employees, rescuing and distributing more than 1.5 million pounds of fresh, healthy food to folks who don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Stanley says, “For so long, we’ve been sort of punched in the face with the messages that hunger exists, and there’s not enough food to feed everyone. We’re challenging those messages. There is enough food — but the choices we make as a global community keep it from being harvested, getting it to where it needs to go. I want to support a solution to end hunger, not the cause. This is the most preventable problem that we’ve got.” Unfortunately, it is a growing one. She notes, “There are 49 million people (16 millions of them children) in this country who don’t know where their next meal is coming from. That’s about 800,000 people in the Bay State, over 200,000 of them are kids. Hunger relief has to be able to evolve to meet the world where it’s at right now.”
The nonprofit’s approach has enormous benefits for the environment, as well. “Three hundred million barrels of oil are being used to produce and incinerate food. Food has become the largest solid component of our waste stream at 14%, emitting methane at rates 25 times more harmful than carbon dioxide.” Companies working with Lovin’ Spoonfuls, such as Whole Foods, Stop & Shop, Trader Joe’s, Wegmans, and local farms can save on trash and transportation costs when they can donate this food (as long as it meets compliance standards) and receive a tax break.
Proceeds from the upcoming event will help Lovin’ Spoonfuls deliver more food to those in need. Stanley expressed her gratitude to the professionals supporting the pop-up dinner, “The hospitality industry is sort of the unsung hero of non-profit work. They show up and feed our guests, and that translates DIRECTLY into us being able to feed hungry folks. Talk about feeding a community.”