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Make Food Not Waste: Feeding 5000

“Real poverty is the belief that the purpose of life is acquiring wealth and owning things. Real wealth is not the possession of property but the recognition that our deepest need, as human beings, is to keep developing our natural and acquired powers to relate to other human beings.” – Grace Lee Boggs

Make Food Not Waste (MFNW) is a community of people committed to reducing the amount of food waste that ends up in landfills.  According to the MFNW website, “In the U.S., we waste 40% of the food we grow and most of that happens at home and in food service.” This is a truly astounding number, particularly considering the number of families that are currently food insecure. An alarming 48% of Detroit households are food insecure and that number is increasing every day due to the pandemic. This Thanksgiving, MFNW partnered with local chefs, restaurants, and neighborhood organizations in an effort to spread a little love and a whole lot of food this holiday season.  

Danielle Todd, Founder and Executive Director of MFNW, Phil Jones of Farmacy Food, and Ederique Goudia of Gabriel Hall led this collaborative initiative to feed 5,000 food insecure Detroit residents for Thanksgiving. How, you ask? One word: community. This labor of love came together because of the generous efforts of chefs, bakers, and cooks from: Avalon Bakery & Cafe, Brooklyn Street Local, Cork & Gabel, Cooking with Que, Experience Relish, Karl’s Detroit, Nosh Pit Detroit, Rising Stars Academy, and Jeff’s Over the Top Catering. Although restaurants and hospitality workers are facing unprecedented challenges these days, these local heroes continue to show up for their community every day eagerly and without hesitation. Speaking from the Marygrove Conservancy commercial kitchen where much of the production took place, Jones observes, “…There’s still some beauty in this tragic time. We’re in a time where just knowing you’re loved means a lot to people.”   

The chef-prepared gourmet Thanksgiving feast consisted of: roasted turkey donated by Cherry Capital Foods, savory gravy, redskin mashed potatoes, buttery herb dressing, sauteed green beans, ginger cranberry sauce, and sweet potato soufflé were delivered and packed in bags for 1000 Detroit families by volunteers at the Jefferson Avenue Presbyterian Church (JAPC). Families were also surprised with either a 5-quart dutch oven or cast-iron grill pan from Cuisinart, spices, and cookbook, Feed the Resistance: Recipes + Ideas for Getting Involved. A drive-thru contactless pickup was then formed for distribution sites such as MACC Development, Neighborhood Grocery, Detroit Food Academy, and others to pick up meals that they later distributed in their respective neighborhoods. During distribution, a JAPC church member stated, “This was the absolute best use of the church parking lot ever!” This mighty coalition of chefs, bakers, nonprofits, volunteers, and food rescue organizations gave 5000 Detroiters, who otherwise would not have been able to enjoy a holiday meal, yet another reason to be thankful during a difficult year. 

And Make Food Not Waste isn’t done yet! They plan to distribute another 2000 meals for those in need at Christmas. Meals will be distributed at the TCF Center, Neighborhood Grocery (500 Manistique St, Detroit 48215), and the Jefferson Avenue Presbyterian Church. Interested in helping out? Volunteer opportunities are available here.

Photo Credit: V. W. Photography
See all photos from the event here.

Ederique Goudia is the Metro Detroit Content Creator for Taste the Local Difference.  Contact her at [email protected]

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