Our “Mission”: To eliminate hunger and food waste while improving nutrition in food insecure communities.
Value Statement: We are committed to serving our donors, volunteers, and agencies with integrity, resourcefulness and respect. We strive to contribute positively to our communities and environment on a daily basis.
In April of 1989, Arlene Mercer, founder of Food Finders, witnessed a banquet manager throwing out perfectly good food in an alley trash bin while blocks away a homeless person scavenged for food in a similar dumpster. Her frustration in wanting to help while also being aware of the incredible amount of waste that must be prevalent sparked the idea that brought Food Finders into existence. She began by contacting food vendors and restaurants nearby to inquire about donating food overages, and then partnered with local agencies and missions to redistribute the donated food. Food Finders received its nonprofit status in 1990. This marked the beginning of Food Finders'Food Rescue Program
to feed the hungry. Food Finders now works with the Los Angeles Produce Mart as well as 350+ other food vendors, providing millions of pounds of fresh produce and perishable food items to more than 210 nonprofit agencies. Food Finders coordinates approximately 250 weekly food delivery routes with the help of 2 staff drivers and 125 regular volunteers. Most agencies receive food daily, some weekly and a few less often, depending on the agency’s size and needs as the food is available. Our volunteers cover routes seven days a week, and our staff drivers transport food 5 days a week. The uniqueness of Food Finders’ program is that we do not warehouse our food -- we pickup and deliver on the same day to ensure the freshest, most nutritional value.
Food Finders celebrates 30 years of rescuing food and reducing hunger in April 2019. In that time, we’ve been able to provide more than 125 million meals worth of food to those in need. This year alone, we plan to rescue 12 million pounds of food, food that would otherwise have ended in a landfill. In addition, we will continue to add new food donor partners. We currently have more than 700 vendors that donate to us, and we serve more than 400 nonprofit agencies—pantries, shelters, missions, youth programs, seniors and more.
Our greatest need is always to collect more food--perishable and nonperishable. We constantly are seeking new donors and whether it's an ongoing partnership or one-time donation, it all makes a difference.
We also need to increase our individual giving, since Federal and State funding has nearly disappeared and we cannot rely solely on grants for income. Our operations run very lean, but we need to support those expenses such as rent, fuel, salaries and supplies in order to keep things running successfully.
Part of our goal is to add a third driver, since we have the vehicles (and hopefully the donations) to support this. By having a third driver, we can reach more donors and then more demand by our agencies.
Volunteers are always needed, as our volunteer-base shifts when people retire, become ill or travel. We encourage new volunteers to apply online and meet with us to discuss how they'd like to be involved, whether it be as a food delivery person, event helper or office support.
See our website, www.foodfinders.org(http://www.foodfinders.org)
Food Finders is unique in terms of food banks, as we don't warehouse our food. Our job as 'middleman' is to take donated food and make sure it gets out as soon and as fresh as possible to our partner nonprofits who serve and handout the food. The logistics in planning for deliveries and pick ups can be very detailed, but we make sure we work around the schedules of those serving meals and doing distributions so they are not having to store food for long periods either. We have been able to reach hundreds of recipients through a large volunteer network and our staff drivers. All the food stays in the community or nearby where it was donated from, so that donors can feel they are supporting local needs and volunteers don't have to drive a long way, plus the food is delivered fresher and more efficiently.
What started in 1989 as a home-based nonprofit has been able to prosper into an 8-person staff and 150+ volunteer base operation. On any given day we are able to collect enough for about 40,000 meals. This doesn't mean square meals, but the food poundage is large enough that we reduce hunger significantly.
We rely on community, both businesses and individuals, to be ambassadors to food rescue and to remind everyone that even your next door neighbor could be going hungry, so every leftover sandwich, every can of food, every orange in your backyard, can make a difference in reducing hunger.
Board Chair Statement
Other Ways to Donate/Volunteer
Food Finders accepts donations via phone, mail-in or through support of events, in addition to online. Volunteers are always needed. Applications for volunteers are found on the 'Volunteer' page of our website at foodfinders.org.