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Ballpark Season Brings More "Rescued" Food for Shelters, Pantries

Last year, We Don't Waste delivered 10 million meals to more than 80 different community-based agencies across the Front Range. (Pixabay)
Last year, We Don't Waste delivered 10 million meals to more than 80 different community-based agencies across the Front Range. (Pixabay)
April 9, 2018

DENVER — Baseball season is back in Denver, and that means Arlan Preblud and his staff of seven are hard at work rescuing hot dogs, buns and any other leftovers for community food banks and shelters.

Preblud started the group We Don't Waste in 2009, picking up food at closing time from local restaurants that would have otherwise been tossed in a dumpster. Today, the team collects from Coors Field, Mile High stadium and the Pepsi Center.

Preblud said they also salvage fresh produce that doesn't make it onto supermarket shelves.

"And just because it's too large, or the color is not right, or the cucumber's just a little bit longer, the bell pepper is not quite as round as it should be - those are all good products,” Preblud said. “A crooked carrot tastes the same as a straight carrot."

He said 40 percent of all food produced in the U.S. is wasted. At the same time, one in six Colorado children are food insecure, along with one in ten adults.

Preblud added the waste is also responsible for generating 23 percent of the nation's methane pollution. Last year, We Don't Waste prevented 4,000 tons of edible food from ending up in a landfill.

Preblud said the majority who visit food pantries are the working poor. After paying for rent, utilities and medical care, by the middle of the month many are tapped out. In 2017, the group delivered some 10 million meals to more than 80 different community-based agencies across the Front Range.

"And all of us are just one step away from a bad decision, or a medical problem, or other unfortunate events,” he said. “We could end up on the other side of the rope, so to speak, and dependent upon these community-based agencies."

The project that began in the back of a Volvo now has three refrigerated trucks and a new 11,000 square-foot distribution center. Preblud said there's even more food out there waiting to be rescued - from grocery stores, caterers and events. It's just a question of having the resources to collect it, and get it to people in need.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO