Co-op Partners Warehouse (CPW) has always donated non-saleable produce items to local food organizations. Until last April, nonprofit groups were invited to “shop” a food bank at the warehouse to find items they needed. But when the pandemic began in March, CPW staff streamlined the donation process, strengthened their relationships with key food-rescue partners, increased efficiencies and tripled the amount of food donations, just as the community’s need increased.
Since the pandemic began, CPW has donated over $250,000 of unsaleable food to community partners.
We talked to Erin Pavlica, who runs the donation program at CPW, to get some specifics about how the new process works. Erin is passionate about food rescue and reducing waste. She believes all food is best eaten and makes sure that CPW wastes as little as possible!
“Close relationships with Loaves & Fishes, Twin Cities Food Justice, Sisters Camelot and First Nations Kitchen allow us to expand our reach and make best use of what we have. Loaves & Fishes and Sisters’ Camelot pick up entire pallets of donated product, which cuts down our time spent packing and loading.
Through our relationship with Twin Cities Food Justice, we can continue to support organizations like Provision Restaurant, St. Kate’s and Hamline’s food shelves, and Shobi’s Table, in addition to many others.”
Erin also sends excess produce to TCCP’s commissary kitchen. She meets with the commissary manager weekly to talk about what’s available that week and how it could be used.