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‘Food Recovery Network’ saves 460 pounds of food from 4 Colts games, donates to Wheeler Mission

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Food Recovery Network is a student-run organization primarily working to save food from campus dining halls but their work is always expanding. For the first time this year students came to Lucas Oil Stadium to save 460 pounds of food after four Colts home games.

Regina Anderson, the Food Recovery Network Executive Director, said, “We recovered some raw ingredients, produce for example, fruits, things like that, that we know a lot of nonprofits that feed our community members in need actually have a high need for raw ingredients. And we were also able to recover some of the prepared food and that is actually one of the niche areas for the Food Recovery Network.”

The Food Recovery Network, known as FRN, also works with restaurants, food vendors and farms to help save the nearly 11 million pounds of food the group has recovered to date.

“There is always leftover food that is in the dishes,” Anderson said. “So they haven’t been brought out, they haven’t been in the display case or it’s not a half eaten hot dog, so this is food that is still perfectly good to eat.”

The United States Department of Agriculture said just under 10% of people in Indiana suffer from food insecurity, so this food will go directly to those who need it most. The food from Lucas Oil Stadium was given directly to the Wheeler Mission and was used to feed about 800 people in need.

Wheeler Mission will receive a food donation from the Food Recovery Network and local college students from its University of Indianapolis chapter. The surplus food will be rescued from the Indianapolis Colts home games and redistributed to organizations like Wheeler Mission.

“Wheeler Mission often receives rescued food from our generous community partners and organizations like the Food Recovery Network. Food insecurity continues to be a real and present issue in our community and our staff and volunteers work tirelessly every day to meet these food insecurity needs in our facilities. We are grateful for the support from our generous community partners and stand ready to work together to feed the most vulnerable in our community.”

Perry HInes, Wheeler Mission Chief Development Officer

Hines said the food will be used to feed approximately 800 men, women and children who receive food, shelter and care from Wheeler each day.

FRN also helps to fight the harmful effects food waste has on the planet.

“The number one place that food goes is in landfill. It’s not necessarily fed to animals, it’s not necessarily used to create energy, it’s not necessarily composted,” Anderson said. “So when the food breaks down it creates additional methane gas and CO2.”

FRN usually comes the day after a football game to collect all the food the vendors put aside and properly stored it in the fridges and freezers at the stadium.

“I hope that the other stadiums see them as a leader in the fact that they allow recovery to happen in the first place,” Anderson said. “That is huge.”

The Colts are the only team in the NFL to partner with FRN on a regular basis. Organizers there are hoping other teams step up to start helping their community battle food waste and insecurity.

FRN has recovered food from the last three Superbowl tailgate parties in cities across the United States.