Northern Virginia Food Rescue FY21 Impact Report

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Annual Report FY2021

CONTENTS Letter from the CEO...............................1 Overall Stats.............................................2-5 Donor Partners........................................6-7 Distribution Partners..............................8-11 Food Rescue Heroes................................12-15 Special Programs Home Deliveries..................................16-17 Community Feeding Taskforce.........18-21 Local Agriculture................................22-23 How It All Started...................................24-25

LETTER FROM THE CEO An amazing story is unfolding, and I am so thankful that you have chosen to take part in this journey – one that brings hope to thousands of our food insecure neighbors throughout the Northern Virginia region. I am humbled by the support we have received here in Prince William County and excited to have a brand new, multi-county Food Rescue Hero app that has allowed us to launch the Fairfax Food Rescue program (with the Fauquier Food Rescue program coming soon)! We are creating something unique and truly ground-breaking as there is no other model like ours anywhere in the world! Vision, passion, teamwork, and community set the foundation for our success and growth as a new organization. However, this massive impact could not happen without the support and involvement of so many volunteers in our community. We love our Food Rescue Heroes! My hope is that you are filled with amazement, excitement, and empathy as you read through this report. So much need has been met (especially during the pandemic) and with your help I know we can do even more to reduce food waste, hunger, and harmful greenhouse gas emissions over the next year! Thank you for your support – whether as a food donor organization, volunteer, distribution partner, advocate, or financial donor. We are reshaping food access and sustainability… together. Aaron Tolson (he/his) CEO


OVERALL STATS There is so much to report from this past fiscal year, we want to highlight some of the statistics of what we did first, but don't stop reading here, the stories of all the people who made this happen come next.

949,789 lbs


Food Rescued

Food Redi

13,413,043 Meals Provided

14,657 Completed Rescues


Food Scr Farm 2

111,291 lbs Delivered to Homes

512,886 lbs

920 lbs

CO2 Mitigated


5 lbs

raps for mers

102,604 lbs Delivered to Senior Homes

13,071,946 gal

Water Saved 3

Growth from FY20-FY21



330% increase






lbs Food Rescued


FY21 0







834% increase 12 ,5 00 ,0 00

10 ,0 00 ,0 00

7, 50 0, 00 0

5, 00 0, 00 0

2, 50 0, 00 0



lbs Food Redistributed


FY21 0



158% 158% increase increase


1213% increase 4


Food Scraps for Farmers

FY21 0





1648% increase 10,000

Senior Deliveries

FY21 0





584% increase

100,000 125,000

Home Deliveries

FY21 0





711% increase 125,000

CO2 Mitigated


FY21 0



158% increase 600,000


DONOR PARTNERS The COVID-19 pandemic affected all areas of our lives and our work here at NOVA-FR. Our donors began this fiscal year (July 2020) just starting to restock their shelves after dealing with shortages of all types of products. Everything our donors knew about how much food to buy and how often changed in an instant, and they spent the year trying to figure out what to do. From April to June 2020, food donations from our donor partners dropped to their lowest levels, but by the time July 2020 came around our donors figured out how to continue on and we started seeing the donations we so badly needed return to local food pantries. As the fiscal year continued we saw our donors begin to recover. Even though some were not able to continue donating food we saw many more begin to donate and even begin to donate more food than ever before.

Largest Donor



Target Gainesville 132,508 lbs Donated


Donor Spotlight: Wegmans Potomac #55 The staff at Wegmans Potomac #55 deserve this spotlight because this year they went above and beyond to reduce food waste from their store. In the Spring of 2021 they began looking at their practices with unsold food and reorganized what happened to that food. Suddenly they went from donating 30 boxes of food a week to 30 boxes of food every day. In addition, they partnered with us and a local farmer, donating about 7,500lbs of food scraps to the farmer every week. All other organic waste they have is composted through a contract with an external company. Without a fantastic staff at Wegmans dedicated to serving food insecure families and eliminating food waste, none of that would be possible.

7,005 lbs of food prepared for homeless shelter clients

79,214 lbs of food donated

Starting April 2021, 7,500 lbs of food scraps donated weekly to a local farmer 7

Our partners saw an average of a 345% increase in clients from prepandemic times*

70% of the food they had came from NOVA-FR*

In total they served over 16,000 families every week*


DISTRIBUTION PARTNERS Throughout the year we saw faithbased organizations, non-profits, and community organizations step up to make sure no one in our community was unable to access the food they needed. A big problem amid this pandemic was that people who never before needed food assistance suddenly did and didn't know where to go.

Many new organizations popped up to fill this need and we are grateful every day to partner with them. Without the dedication of our food distribution partners on the front lines, our work would be meaningless.


Distribution Partners *Information is based on a survey conducted for our CY2020 partners.


Distribution Spotlight: Georgetown South Community Center The Georgetown South Community Council Food Pantry was founded to help with the food stability of the residents in our 860 townhomes. This is not the normal objective of an HOA, but our HOA was founded in 1964 with civicminded principles... Initially, we gave food from the Capital Area Food Bank [CAFB] once a month to our residents, usually impacting at least 500 families.

Then with the inception of the Prince William Food Rescue, we had a more regular partner to share food resources with us.

We began a distribution each time we received food and the food was always distributed in less than two hours to whomever came to the Community Center to get it... Food distribution increased significantly to twice a week during COVID with assistance from PWFR and CAFB. We served Georgetown South and non-Georgetown South residents during COVID, usually 400 families or more twice a week. We are back to twice monthly large distributions as people have returned to work. Our distribution is for those in line, regardless of their residence. -Meg Carroll, Community Manager of Georgetown South



FOOD RESCUE HEROES Our Food Rescue Heroes are the people who make all of this work possible. They are the ones who give up their time to drive food from donors to distribution partners. It became very obvious a few weeks into the pandemic that people not only wanted ways to get out of their homes safely, they also wanted to give back to the community. With just some simple adjustments we were able to transition all our volunteer opportunities to being no-contact, allowing them to continue no matter what the pandemic brought.




Food Rescue Heroes

Completed Rescues


949,789lbs of Food Rescued


Food Rescue Hero Spotlight:

I found it very exciting and rewarding to participate in the program. It was fun to be around so many people all working to feed neighbors in need. Rene Megill, my wife, worked at The Holy Family food pantry. With me delivering food and her distributing the same, it seemed we had plenty to talk about. It kept us busy, we had a common goal. -John Megill

John Megill

327,553lbs Most Pounds of Food Moved


People should have enough food to eat. Being a Food Rescue volunteer gets food to those in need. I volunteer because I feel it is very important to give back to my community. I enjoy keeping busy and get a great deal of satisfaction being a part of the important work that Prince William Food Rescue does to help alleviate hunger and food waste. The world can become a better place if we all try to help each other out. -Lou Soscia


Lou Soscia

Most Completed Rescues 15

SPECIAL PROGRAMS: Home Deliveries In response to the pandemic we saw the need to deliver food directly to the doorstep of people in need. We used our app in what was then a non-conventional way to make this possible for two programs: Senior Home Deliveries and the Prince William County Food Helpline.

Senior Home Deliveries Since 2019 we have been working with Action in Community Through Service (ACTS) to deliver food to their homebound Senior clients. Beginning this fiscal year we've been able to expand this program to include Northern Virginia Family Service's SERVE Campus Senior homebound clients as well.

1579 Senior Deliveries

102,604lbs Food Delivered


PWC Food Helpline The helpline is run entirely by bilingual volunteers who donate hours of their time to connect local residents to accessible food sources. Whenever a resident calls in, the volunteer pulls up a map and directs the caller to their three nearest food pantries, including information about open hours, requirements, and how food is distributed. When a client calls and doesn't have access to transportation or

they are quarantined due to COVID-19 we set-up a delivery of food directly to their doorstep. Similar to the senior delivery program, the food helpline helps meet a critical need for volunteers amongst our distribution partners. The support of our Food Rescue Heroes enables pantries to distribute food to people they otherwise could not reach.


Families Served


3,320hrs 69%

of Deliveries to Quarantined Families

Home Deliveries

Spent Answering “This program lets Calls me know that I’m not alone. You guys care enough to go the extra mile to make sure my family can eat.” -Food Helpline Client


SPECIAL PROGRAMS: Community Feeding Taskforce It was clear early on in the pandemic that food insecurity was going to become an even bigger issue in the county than it was before. Thankfully, a partnership was quickly formed between the PWC Office of Emergency Management, the Prince William County Community Foundation (PWCCF), and Prince William Food Rescue to establish the Community Feeding Taskforce. Needing immediate access to a warehouse facility, Didlake, a local non-profit committed to enriching the lives of people with disabilities, halted the demolition of a warehouse

facility they owned so that we could use it temporarily. As the food supply chain crumbled and restaurants began shutting down, two large food distributors, US Foods and Sysco, provided us with a refrigerated trailer and donated thousands of pounds of food. We redirected over 267,000 pounds of food from this location from May to June. Starting up so quickly would not have been possible without the support of organizations like Didlake, Sysco, and US Foods.


KAO Warehouse Starting this fiscal year, we moved into the KAO warehouse space with two refrigerated trailers for cold storage, shelving for pallets, two box trucks and drivers, and a complete assembly line setup. This allowed us to begin receiving up to 11 tractor trailer deliveries (13,200 boxes) per week of the USDA’s Farmer to Family Food Box program and another 1,530 food boxes per week from Capital Area Food Bank.

The county also spent about $3 million purchasing bulk food items, which hundreds of volunteers then used to fill over 100,000 additional food boxes for the community. Over 11.7 million meals were redistributed from this warehouse during the next year. None of it would have been possible without the support of Prince William County government, Emergency Management staff, City of Manassas government, Capital Area Food Bank, and the PWCCF.


Food Redistributed through the KAO Warehouse


Volunteer Spotlight: Elder Scott If you visited or volunteered in our warehouse this past year, I guarantee you saw Elder Scott. Elder Scott joined our team as a volunteer in October as a part of his missions work for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He started off as a shy volunteer doing whatever task was needed of him that day, but he quickly grew to become a leader amongst our team.

Most days Elder Scott ran our warehouse operations on his own, whether that was filling orders, leading volunteers, or assisting Food Rescue Heroes. Our warehouse could not have run as efficiently and effectively as it did without his leadership.


600 hrs volunteered in FY21


I have absolutely loved my time here at Northern Virginia Food Rescue. I have learned new skills and have met and served with so many wonderful people. It has been an incredible opportunity for me to fulfill my call as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 21

SPECIAL PROGRAMS: Local Agriculture As we all experienced, the national food supply chain fell apart at the beginning of the pandemic, leaving grocery store shelves empty. People of all economic statuses were searching for where to get their groceries, meanwhile farmers had food they were forced to throw away. As a result, donations of fresh produce and healthy foods significantly decreased leaving food pantries empty while food

insecurity increased. As our first steps towards building a local, resilient food system in FY21 we started to procure food locally and begin the Food Scraps for Farmers Program. The Food Scraps for Farmers Program helps organizations with high volumes of food waste connect with local farmers who can pick it up and use it to feed their livestock instead of sending it to the landfill.

9,885 lbs of food diverted from the landfill to local farmers

43,035lbs of produce donated from local farmers


Spotlight: ACTS and Stone Path Farms Every week Stone Path Farms stops by ACTS Hunger Prevention Center to pick up about 100lbs of food scraps that they use to feed their goats and chickens.


HOW IT ALL STARTED At the beginning of 2020 we were Prince William Food Rescue (PWFR), a program of Action in Community Through Service (ACTS). PWFR was created with the vision of expanding to become Northern Virginia Food Rescue, an organization with a warehouse space that could receive bulk donations and serve counties throughout the NOVA region. 2020 turned that vision into an urgent need and immediate reality.

In July 2021 we found ourselves moving thousands of pounds of food through our warehouse space every week. Then in March 2021 Northern Virginia Food Rescue was officially launched as a subsidiary non-profit of ACTS with the mission to, “improve food resiliency and accessibility with an innovative network of donors, volunteers, and distribution partners for our Northern Virginia community.”






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