White Pony Express Food Rescue Reaches 6 Million
White Pony Express (WPE), the Pleasant Hill volunteer organization that saves and delivers fresh food to help feed area poor people, has achieved the milestone of delivering 6 million pounds of surplus produce deli and meat products, said Steve Spraitzar, spokesperson.
The nonprofit does not charge for its work.
“When we first started WPE, no one could have imagined that someday, we would have achieved such a thing,” said Gary Connor, the organization’s executive director.
“When we first started, we had nothing but a dream, dedicated volunteers and a Google telephone account,” he said. “It is thrilling to know what can be done if you can just say ‘Yes’ to serving others.”
WPE trucks are sent daily to supermarkets, restaurants and farmers markets, where they pick up 4,000 pounds of fresh produce, milk and deli meats that otherwise would be thrown away.
The trucks take the foods to the WPE distribution building in Pleasant Hill, where it is sorted. Then the trucks deliver the food to nonprofits that same day. Those nonprofit groups use the food to feed the hungry in Contra Costa County.
When WPE began four years ago, it had a single food donor, Spraitzar said. Now it has 50 regular donors, as well as more than 79 nonprofits recipient partners and more than 400 volunteers.
In addition, it has given away more than 300,000 items of clothing and more than 100,000 children’s books, games and toys to the less fortunate through its Mobile Boutiques.
Dr. Carol Weyland Connor, the spiritual director of Sufis Reoriented, founded WPE in September 2013 after she became troubled that despite Contra Costa County’s abundance, scores of thousands were going hungry while grocers and other food retailers threw out huge quantities of healthy food.
“Her idea was to create a food rescue program, where this good surplus food could be picked up directly from food retailers and delivered to local service organizations that serve those in need. She continues as WPE’s advisor. Volunteers are always needed, Spraitzar said.
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