HVADC Program: FeedHV 2022 Results
Feb 15, 2023
HVADC’s FeedHV program, which connects regional food banks and community support programs with excess food from farms and institutions, recently reported having a productive post-pandemic rebuilding year in 2022, tripling its list of donors.
HVADC’s FeedHV program, which connects regional food banks and community support programs with excess food from farms and institutions, recently reported having a productive post-pandemic rebuilding year in 2022, tripling its list of donors. The amount of food rescued from local farms and institutions and delivered to communities in need rose to 93,000 pounds this year. In addition, the increase in donors has HVADC enthusiastic that FeedHV’s goal of providing 100,000 pounds of food annually will soon be met and exceeded.
Operating throughout Dutchess, Orange, Ulster, Columbia, Greene, Putnam and Sullivan counties, FeedHV links donors of prepared, but unserved, food and fresh produce with nonprofits and food assistance programs. Through an app-assisted network of food donors, volunteers and feeding agencies, FeedHV facilitates the harvesting, processing and distribution of locally grown or produced agricultural products, shelf-stable food donations and prepared nutritious foods. Among the donors are restaurants, farms, food makers, stores, hospitals and universities. The food assistance programs include food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters, with many reporting increases in demand in 2022.
“We’ve had a really hopeful year,” said Brianna Merrill, FeedHV Program Coordinator. “2023 is really going to reap the benefits of growing the number of donors in 2022. We really want to get to that 100,000 pound goal. With our new donors we can get there. Now we need more volunteers.”
This increase in donors and donations means the FeedHV team is also hustling to recruit more volunteers to make pickups and deliveries. FeedHV expanded this year, bringing on Christopher Braccia as FeedHV Program Associate to increase such outreach efforts. FeedHV volunteers completed 1,576 runs to receiving agencies during 2022.
Merrill was pleased to report that in 2022, produce made up 70% of the donations. That’s up 10% from 2021. FeedHV hopes that by feeding those in need as much high-quality and high-value products as possible, that those receiving feel not only nourished but also respected. “We are proud of that. It brings dignity to what we do and honors everyone who gives and receives,” she said.
In 2022 new donor types were identified and made inaugural donations, such as schools, a hotel, a summer camp and the vendors at the Dutchess County Fair. Along with building connections with new donors, stronger inter-agency connections have been forged. Scenic Hudson has been a strong ally and supporter of FeedHV, making donations and facilitating networking.
One of FeedHV’s most successful new campaigns was the forging of new donor relationships with the food service programs of many Hudson Valley school districts. Now, when schools throughout the Valley dismiss for breaks, or have their regular programing interrupted by weather, their food surplus is donated and distributed through the FeedHV network.
“A third of our new donors were schools in 2022,” said Merrill. “We moved around more food than ever before this past holiday break. The buy-in is definitely there from the food service directors we partner with and we are extremely grateful. They hate wasting any food that could be redirected back to the community.”
Last year HVADC interviewed some of the food service directors partnering with FeedHV and found that they were not only happy to be provided a solution to address food waste but were eager to find ways to do more in the future.
“Even during the school year we have mostly produce and dairy that won’t make it through breaks,” Director of Food Services for the Red Hook, Rhinebeck and the Pine Plains Central School Districts, Lawrence Anthony said. “Between the three schools, I had ten kitchens shut down when COVID hit. Having a place to send all this stuff was amazing. FeedHV is a valuable resource. I love working with them.”
Merrill is also looking to grow relationships with farmers markets this year. She says there is a lot of work still to do for FeedHV, such as additional donor outreach and applying for grants to enable direct purchases from farms to augment donations.
“Our team at FeedHV has really done an admirable job executing this important program,” said Todd Erling, HVADC Executive Director. “To be able to address the issue of food waste at our farms and institutions, and bring farm fresh produce to those in need in our community is truly gratifying. The more success the program has the more we look to grow, and 2023 will be a great step in that direction.”
To learn more about the FeedHV efforts visit www.feedhv.org.