TFFood NewsClarkLindsey residents donate time, funds and food to people in need | Health-care
TFFood NewsClarkLindsey residents donate time, funds and food to people in need | Health-care
Food News

ClarkLindsey residents donate time, funds and food to people in need | Health-care

URBANA — ClarkLindsey is reducing food waste and helping fight food insecurity all at once with a simple plan: donating extra food made at meal times to the Daily Bread Soup Kitchen.

In just one week, the kitchens were able to freeze and donate over 100 pounds of prepared food, according to ClarkLindsey resident and Food Security Work Group coordinator Chris Todd.

The FSWG has donated funds and volunteer hours to Daily Bread before, “but now we’re able to also get them some really yummy food, because it’s all the food we eat, and I can tell you, it’s really good,” Todd said .

The leftover donation program was set up with the help of ClarkLindsey chief operating officer Kenneth Ivory and the Food Recovery Network, but it’s just the latest effort to fight food insecurity since the FSWG was formed in late 2022.

Many residents in the assisted living facility have an interest in helping provide food to people in the community who need it, so it wasn’t hard to pull a group together to seek out volunteer opportunities and partnerships with charities around the area.

“We’re thought of as a pretty wealthy community,” said ClarkLindsey resident and FSWG member Shirley Walker, who used to work professionally with underserved people in the area.

“But we really aren’t. We have a lot of people who don’t meet those standards at all and never will, and food is something they have to have.”

Todd also works with low income families in his career, and loves having face-to-face interactions with the people the FSWG helps out.

“I am just blown away by their inventiveness that they have to make sure that their families have what they need, how much time they have to spend to do that,” Todd said.

“It’s a full time job, in a sense.”

FSWG has donated thousands of dollars and pounds of food across various programs like the farmer’s market residents set up in the ClarkLindsey lobby.

Residents who want to garden in plots on the ClarkLindsey campus, but they often end up with lots of flowers and more food than they can eat.

Throughout the summer and fall, they sold those perishable items and turned the profits around purchasing rice, then worked with the University of Illinois student group Illini Fighting Hunger to pack it up.

FSWG also partners with the Eastern Illinois Food Bank, Family Service meals on Wheels, Salvation Army Canteen Run, Wesley UMC Student Food Pantries and Feeding Our Kids.

It’s important to work with a variety of groups that serve different parts of the community, Todd said, because they are trying to understand the “totality” of how food insecurity impacts different people.

They also invited some of those groups to visit ClarkLindsey during the residents’ lunch hour to talk about who they serve and what kinds of donations or volunteer work would be helpful.

In just one year, FSWG donated 1,248 sandwiches to people living on the streets and 8,600 servings of rice, 400 food items and 70 bottles of dish soap to area food pantries.

“A lot of times, life is beyond your control and things — you can get upset with them and you can’t change them, but we can do something about food insecurity. “Each of us can do it and if we each do a little bit, it really makes a big difference,” Todd said.

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