You might ask yourself what Breaking Bad, ballooning and baseball could possibly have in common. Well, they are all part of the story of how prepared food rescue is feeding the hungry in Albuquerque.
While filming the television series Breaking Bad in Albuquerque, actor Bryan Cranston approached Mayor Richard Berry about the idea of rescuing leftover food items from the on-set catering to feed New Mexico’s hungry. Mayor Berry and Ann Lerner of the City of Albuquerque’s Film Office loved the idea! However, because the show was nearing the end of shooting, food from Breaking Bad was never rescued – but the concept had taken hold!
Food rescue has always been at the center of our work at the food bank, but prepared food presents its own set of unique challenges. Food that is cooked and ready to eat cannot be held on a shelf for days – it must be distributed right away for nearly immediate consumption.
The City of Albuquerque and the Environmental Health Department worked together with a collaborative network of Roadrunner Food Bank’s partner agencies, including St. Martin’s Hospitality Center, Noon Day Ministries, Joy Junction, and numerous other soup kitchens to help feed the hungry, while reducing food waste.
At last year’s Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, the program launched. Through the partnership, thousands of pounds of food were rescued from the Fiesta, providing meals for people in need at homeless shelters and soup kitchens. Large-scale community events provide the ideal venues for food rescue because mass quantities of food that would otherwise be thrown away can be collected and immediately distributed to help feed hungry people.
The latest food rescue site is the Albuquerque Isotopes Baseball Park. Ovations Food Services provides food at Isotopes Park, and now they are helping to rescue all the leftover hot dogs, pretzels, nachos and more that would have just gone to waste. The program just began this season, and with the help of the Isotopes and the Environmental Health Department we have already rescued more than 11,000 pounds of food, which is feeding more than 9,300 New Mexicans.
I encourage you to learn more about food rescue here. Help us by donating, volunteering or spreading the word about reducing food waste in our community and helping to curb hunger among all New Mexicans.
Julie Anderson is Food Rescue Manager at Roadrunner Food Bank.