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THIS WEEK: Helping feed people, not landfills

A unique Quad City partnership is looking for more restaurants and businesses to take part

DAVENPORT, Iowa — It's food for thought.

Restaurants, grocers, and other businesses throw out mounds of prepared food because they made more than they could sell.

One group says that extra little bit adds up quickly.

"At a national level, 40% of the food in the United States does not get consumed and therefore it's wasted," said Christina McDonough of the Food Rescue Partnership in the Quad Cities.

"There's a lot of other non-profits that will take that prepared meal and serve it to their community," said McDonough on "News 8 This Week with Jim Mertens".

The Food Rescue Partnership is recognized for the third straight year by the US Environmental Protection Agency for "notable achievements and innovations in the EPA's Food Recovery Challenge".

Since 2013, the Food Rescue Partnership has teamed up with stakeholders and partners to make sure extra food from restaurants and others doesn't go to waste.

Watch our 2015 story on the Food Rescue Partnership.

It's not a food bank nor a food pantry...

But a resource to get restaurant and grocery store food from simply being thrown away.

"There is that sweet spot here the restaurants can donate their prepared food."

More than a dozen businesses are involved.

You can listen to our entire interview with Food Rescue Partnership's Christina McDonough on THE CITIES PODCAST.

The "rescuing" of food was never needed more than in March of 2020.

When the COVID-19 pandemic first struck, it immediately shut down restaurants.

Some had already prepared meals for their lunch and dinner crowds.

"We were able, in one week, to rescue 4400 pounds of food," said McDonough.

"It took a lot of great team work."

A hesitation to help

Right now, a dozen restaurants are helping on a regular basis and more are being sought.

"And hopefully that's sparking some healthy competition, right.  So if you find out one restaurant's donating food you know you can do it as well." 

McDonough says some businesses find it easier to throw food away instead of donating it because of the fear of litigation.

But since 1996, the federal government has protected businesses by enacting the Good Samaritan Food Donation Act.

The Food Rescue Partnership has received the EPA honor for the third straight year.

Only 18 organizations and businesses were recognized nationwide this year by the EPA.

"We are just honored that our local mission is being recognized at a regional and now a national level," said McDonough.

"It's a huge accomplishment for all of our volunteers."

You can watch "News 8 THIS WEEK with Jim Mertens" Sundays mornings at 10 on WQAD News 8.