It’s no secret that St. Matthew’s House is in the food-giving business. Every month we conduct multiple mobile food drives across counties in Southwest Florida, but now, St. Matthew’s House has partnered up with Blue Zones Project and MEANS Database to become a food-recovery business making sure food in our warehouses doesn’t go to waste.
The Blue Zones Project helps make healthy choices easier for everyone in Southwest Florida. After hearing about the MEANS Database, a nonprofit food rescue platform, Blue Zones Project quickly reached out to see if MEANS would be willing to start work in Florida, a state they hadn’t yet worked in.
“St. Matthew’s House has really been the stimulus of the MEANS Database starting [in Southwest Florida],” said Megan Greer, Worksite Lead at Blue Zones Project Southwest Florida. “We were so excited to bring down the concept and the opportunity but had it not been for St. Matthew’s House, it would not have launched, and we would not have had this program.”
MEANS Database works by connecting businesses that have extra food on hand with organizations that need food to distribute to those in need. Farms, grocery stores, mom-and-pop shops – they sign into the database and state the food that they have an excess of and where they’re located. Then nonprofits can accept the food through the app and pick it up to distribute.
“It’s an amazing process to take excess food, keep it out of the dump and get it to those in need,” Greer said. According to Greer, it takes less than 5 minutes to register with MEANS whether you’re a food retailer or a nonprofit.
“What’s important for restaurants and other food retailers to know [is that] it doesn’t have to be this massive excess,” Greer said. Whether it’s a few to-go meals leftover or a bunch of fresh fruit, Greer says it all adds up.
Lorna McLain, Director of Food Assistance for St. Matthew’s House, is very excited about the new partnerships.
“We really are giving back to the community more than we ever have,” McLain said. “We are doing what we do best; no food is going to waste. We’re making sure that we’re able to get this food to the people that really need it.”
McLain says that in the month of August alone, St. Matthew’s House has been able to move 38,000 pounds of food.
When we get to work together, it’s like the force multiplier of being able to do so much more in a community.Megan Greer, Worksite Lead at Blue Zones Project Southwest Florida
Right now, there are 14 local nonprofits signed up to accept donations through MEANS, but St. Matthew’s House is the only business donor providing goods for the other nonprofits to pick up and distribute.
“We hope some other food retailers, restaurants, hotels and clubhouses will join on board with [St. Matthew’s House] to be an additional distributor,” Greer said. “I’m hoping, by the end of the year, we can get to five.”
St. Matthew’s House is excited to continue this partnership with Blue Zones Project and the MEANS Database. St. Matthew’s House strives to be good stewards of everything we’re given on earth, and that includes the food we receive.
To view the ABC7 news story on our new partnerships, click here.
Tags: Blue Zones Project, Collier County, community, food, food assistance, Food Distribution, MEANS Database