Louisville Magazine

NOV 2018

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 11.18 129 Food Network By Anne Marshall / Photos by Mickie Winters How does excess food get to those who need it? And why is there still so much food waste? I meet "Red" mid-breakfast, his thick, freckled hands squeezing a fork as he slices into fried eggs in the dining hall of the Franciscan Kitchen, just south of downtown on Preston Street. "My name's Richard omas, but I go by Red," he says. Middle-aged, with crisp blue eyes and a once-fiery red beard that's matured to an ashy gray, omas will soon board the Franciscan Kitchen's white van and start his daily route of salvaging uneaten food from restaurants. He runs through the day's list — Nord's Bakery in Germantown, Papa John's and KFC in Hikes Point, KFC on Blankenbaker Parkway, Kroger out in Prospect and a Starbucks too. "I call it round-the-world," he says, smiling. omas remembers the first meal he had here some 25 years ago: pork chops, mashed potatoes and green beans. He was homeless at the time, came around begging for coffee money or something. ey invited him to eat, to keep coming back. "If I hadn't found this place I'd be dead — drugs, drinking, wildness," he says, adding, "You like rock 'n' roll? AC/ DC? 'Highway to Hell?'" He grows quiet, shaking his head at his past. For 38 years, Franciscan Kitchen has served a hot lunch to the hungry. Lately, they total about 500 to 600 meals every day. Cooks can go through about 180 pounds of canned green beans in one day. e Franciscan Kitchen, along with similar nonprofits — Wayside Christian Mission, St. Vincent de Paul, the Healing Place — largely rely on food donations. at's where Kentucky Harvest steps in. e 25-year-old nonprofit gets excess food to those who can use it. ey partner with 84 donors — including ortons, Panera, Longhorn Steakhouse, hotels and the food wholesaler Sysco — to scoop up leftovers or unused items and redistribute them. eir efforts total roughly 2 million pounds of food per year. It's always a guessing game what Kentucky Harvest might rescue. Sometimes it's two-doz- en heads of cauliflower, turkey-avocado sandwiches from Whole Foods, 30 cartons of milk from a local school or 80 cases of Blue Bunny ice cream from a wholesal- er. e day after the Ironman Louisville competition, Kentucky Harvest loaded unused Gatorade, oranges and bananas into a truck. Dare to Care, that's the big one in town, delivering 24 million pounds of food a year to organizations throughout Louisville and surrounding counties. Some of Dare to Care's food, stored in a Clydesdale of a warehouse on Fern Valley Road, comes from the USDA. A lot of it is pulled from 101 different stores in the area, as well as produce distributors who donate fruits and vegetables that may not please the eye on grocery shelves but still taste fine and offer valuable nutrition. Spend some time with those who salvage food, and the mission feels massive. e amount of food lodged in walk-in freezers, refrigerators and slid onto food pantry shelves overwhelms. It seems like hunger should just move along. e answer is all right here. But out in the community, seen and unseen, known and unknown, gaps persist. A recent Louisville Solid Waste Manage- ment study showed that nearly 29 percent of solid waste in Jefferson County is food. Some of that may just be banana peels and scraps, but a lot may be edible, useful. In Jefferson County, it's estimated that 16 Volunteer "Red" Thomas

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