Food Lifeline’s Grocery Rescue Program is excited to announce an expansion to include Safeway as its newest retail partner. With the completion of the Albertsons-Safeway merger at the beginning of this year, Safeway will adopt the Albertsons’ Fresh Rescue program through Feeding America, giving Food Lifeline an incredible opportunity to expand the current Grocery Rescue Program by nearly fifty percent.
The Grocery Rescue Program brings in 46% of Food Lifeline’s annual poundage. The program provides our donors with a more streamlined way to provide produce, meat and dairy products to Food Lifeline’s member agencies, product types which are critical in ensuring that clients have access to healthy food. Over the last five years, the program has grown from 138 donors to 239 donors and has added dozens of new partner agencies.
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Albertsons and Food Lifeline have enjoyed a strong partnership since 2006. In that time, Albertsons has donated nearly 26 million pounds of unsaleable yet wholesome food to communities in Western Washington. When the Albertsons banner first partnered with Food Lifeline through its contract with Feeding America, it had two stores in Food Lifeline’s service area of
Western Washington; today, there are over 20 stores. With the Albertsons-Safeway merger as the catalyst, Food Lifeline looks forward to adding 115 new Safeway stores to this successful partnership, increasing the number of participating Grocery Rescue stores by fifty percent.
Not only has the merger increased the number of stores that will be a part of the program, but the Albertsons-Safeway Fresh Rescue corporate donation guidelines have broadened to include more product types that are authorized for donation. Prior to the merger, Safeway had a thorough composting program to help alleviate waste entering the landfill and many product types went straight into the compost rather than into the donation bin. The broadened guidelines will enable Food Lifeline and its member agencies to reroute the food away from the waste stream and into the hands of people who need it. “It is so important… People just hate to see food wasted, especially when it is so needed by so many.” Mary Nader, the Executive Director at North Kitsap Fishline.
This expansion further highlights the necessity for the Hunger Solution Center, which is set to open in 2016. With a new location and larger facility, which will be more than twice the size of the current facilities combined, Food Lifeline will be able to distribute up to 100 million pounds of food per year, more than double what we distribute today. The Grocery Rescue Program and its partnership with Safeway will have an important role to play in the work to fill this beautiful new facility .