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L.A. Regional Food Bank Turns 40 Today

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Photo courtesy of L.A. Regional Food Bank on Facebook
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If you've worked in the F & B industry, you might be familiar with the inherent waste that comes along with the gig. We recall our first job at Marie Callender's, where there was so much leftover bread chucked into the dumpsters that combined it could have made a real life version of The Giant Jam Sandwich. (This was before the Food Surplus Policy was passed, making it easier to donate unused edibles. Trust us, we tried to organize and were shut down several times due to the threat of being sued if food wasn't fit to eat.) But that didn't stop Tony Collie. Collie, then a chef at a recovery center in Pasadena, started the L.A. Food Bank 40 years ago after seeing how much was wasted in the kitchens where he worked.

The organization has since organized a network that distributes over 200,000 pounds of fresh food to those in need around our city daily.

Having volunteered with the organization before, we have to admit its facilities are nothing short of inspiring, and somewhat mind-boggling. Their warehouses operate almost like a Costco, with a staff of 106 moving produce and other donations around on forklifts, and a supply of 32,000 volunteers coming in annually.

According to the L.A. Times, the agency provides food to about 650 agencies, including the Boys and Girls Club. They do so by "hooking up with farmers whose harvest is sometimes bigger than the demand, or with supermarkets that have stocked more perishable food than they can sell. Ralphs and Vons are among the biggest donors to the food bank."

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The Food Bank has brought in countless celebs and chef personalities for volunteer work, creating a buzz around the organization. It has also paved the way for many other organizations and food initiatives, like the Good Food Policy Council here in L.A., who is hoping to provide more access to healthy food to underserved communities.

If you're interested in getting involved in the organization, helping with food donations or volunteering at a local pantry or the food bank, you can visit their site here.