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This summer marks the 1st anniversary of Food Bank of Alaska’s Volunteer Food Reclamation Program. There will be a celebration and volunteer appreciation event on Thursday, May 31st from 6:00 to 10:00 pm at the Church of Love at 3502 Spenard Road.

In 2017,the food industry in Anchorage and Mat-Su donated over 5 million pounds of food to Food Bank of Alaska. Almost one-third of that was fruits and vegetables. Operations Director Alan Ezzell explains, “Having fresh produce and other fresh food available from our food industry partners makes a huge difference for folks who can’t afford it themselves.”

Food Bank of Alaska’s volunteers are essential in food reclamation. Most donated produce is nearing the end of its usable life and must be distributed quickly. Two evenings each week, volunteers prepare produce for distribution to 100 partner organizations throughout Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley as well as through Food Bank of Alaska’s Mobile Food Pantry. “We receive entire pallets of everything from dragon fruit to strawberries. By sorting through, washing, and bagging up produce, our volunteers make it possible for us to provide high-quality foods that are often unavailable to the communities we serve in Alaska,” Sarah Radonich, Volunteer Coordinator explains.

$218 billion worth of food is thrown away every year in the United States, according to Feeding America. Approximately 72 billion pounds of perfectly good food—from every point in the food production cycle—ends up in landfills and incinerators every year. Rescuing this perfectly edible, whole food means feeding families facing hunger and taking a large step in protecting our planet and conserving our resources. "It's unacceptable that so many people are struggling with hunger when billions of pounds of food are wasted," says Sarra Khlifi, of the Alaska Food Coalition.

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