Second Servings of Houston is working simultaneously to fight hunger and end food waste in Houston, Texas. With help from ReFED’s COVID-19 Food Waste Solutions Fund, they are expanding their work to help those impacted by COVID-19.
Founded in 2015, Second Servings of Houston rescues surplus food from businesses and delivers it directly to local food banks and charities, providing fresh food to people who need it most.
ReFED, a nonprofit committed to reducing U.S. food waste, launched the Fund to ensure organizations addressing food waste, like Second Servings of Houston, continue their work during the pandemic. The Fund raised and distributed more than US$3.5 million to 37 organizations with a goal of rescuing 41.5 million meals within 90 days.
When COVID-19 hit, Second Servings of Houston saw a drastic increase in surplus food and rescued three times more than in 2019.
But Barbara Bronstein, Founder and President of Second Servings, explains that COVID-19 posed a number of logistical challenges to food rescue and distribution. “Many charities have altered their schedules, types of meal service, and methods of food distribution,” Bronstein tells Food Tank.
By supporting their logistics team, the ReFED Fund is helping them adapt to these changes. The ReFED Fund helps them pay for more food rescue drivers, pay for the additional fuel needed to reach more food and families, and effectively coordinate their food sourcing and recipient outreach efforts, according to Bronstein.
With the support of the ReFED Fund, Second Servings of Houston also created Houston’s largest mass meal relief program, Dinner’s On Us. Although it began as a program to serve hospitality workers throughout the pandemic, the program quickly expanded to provide take-home, chef-prepared family meals to everyone in need. Through this program, they distributed over 70,000 meals to their community.
As they monitor the need for food assistance in Houston, the organization continues to look for additional ways to serve the community. “We are evaluating opportunities for effective and efficient food distribution through collaborations with the owners of low-income housing, municipalities, and community associations, in order to reach more families in need,” Bronstein tells Food Tank.
Photo Courtesy of Second Servings of Houston