Growing Healthy Veterans leader helps save 17,900 pounds of food
More than 17,900 pounds of food was saved from going into the landfill thanks to the work of Growing Healthy Veterans Operations Manager Lukan Paulus and volunteers, including Foss Park Commissioner and Growing Healthy Veterans Board member Dr. Donna King, among others.
The food came from the Northern Illinois Food Depository, which had received an especially large delivery. They were only able to disperse a fraction of what they received to food pantries and soup kitchens.
There were 20 pallets with 72 boxes each of mixed produce left over. It was all scheduled to go into the landfill. Paulus and another volunteer veteran rescued 10 pallets on June 4.
Volunteers had to open and sort through all of the boxes, separating out the food that was still good and putting the rest in compost piles.
Thanks to Manager Gabe Monroe and his staff at the Foss Park Golf Course in North Chicago who provided an air-conditioned space to finish sorting; the Inn at Market Square in Zion, the Gurnee American Legion Post 771 and the Liberty Prairie Foundation for additional cooler space; Michael Brankin of the Eden Restoration Project, Shannon McBride, farmer Jeff Chapman and the Prairie Crossing Home Owners Association for both help and support.
Over five days, 15,000 pounds of mainly apples, oranges, potatoes and onions were sorted, with the remaining 3,000 pounds put into compost to create healthy soil.
On June 6, approximately 6,000 pounds of produce were made available to residents at the Growing Healthy Veterans community garden, North Chicago Commons. Approximately 4,000 pounds were taken to Zion and distributed by Juanita and Charles Black, founders of the Black Academy of Excellence.
The remaining 5,000 pounds were distributed at the end of the Black Lives Matter Peaceful Protest March June 12.