Eastern Iowa truck drivers are helping combat food insecurity through an Iowa City volunteer program, Table to Table.
Table to Table (T2T) is an Iowa City organization that closes the gap between abundance and hunger. Volunteers like Steve Smith, a retired food transport industry professional, collect surplus food from donors and redistribute it to partners and people who can use it.
“I am involved in the food rescue operation as it pertains to overage, shortage, and damage due to a 40+ year background in transportation and logistics,” explains Smith. “There is a great need for such a program both from the perspective of the delivering drivers and as far as addressing food rescue in our community.”
The food recovery and redistribution process that T2T has organized helps thousands of Johnson County residents annually.
“Forty percent of all the food produced in the U.S. goes to waste, most of that before ever reaching your plate. There’s a lot of opportunity for food waste along the supply chain with a substantial amount being lost during transit. Logistics miscommunication between vendor and customer results in the wrong item being delivered. Food is also lost due to mislabeling or incorrect packaging at the facility that is not caught until delivery. And then there are times when some, but not all, of the product is damaged during transit and is rejected then by the customer. Many times, despite the rejection, the product is still edible and nutritious,” details Nicki Ross, T2T’s Executive Director.
We could not do this without critical food donors and key partnerships with the anti-hunger network.”
T2T has distributed 2.3 million pounds of food over the last year.