In the Driver’s Seat: With Sam Kensley

January 6, 2022 Updated: January 23, 2024

Sam Kensley is a Lovin’ Spoonfuls’ Food Rescue Coordinator working in our Greater Boston region. Learn why he cares about food rescue in the blog below.

I am going on one year as a Food Rescue Coordinator (FRC) for Lovin’ Spoonfuls. In that year, the rest of the FRCs and I have rescued millions of pounds of incredible food. Each piece of that food has a story to tell, and I’d like to tell you one of the more interesting ones from my time here at Spoonfuls.

About a month ago, we got a call from one of our vendors, DiSilva Fruit, a wholesale produce distributor, asking us if we were interested in a pallet of grapes. DiSilva is a great source of fruits and vegetables, and since rescuing nutritious food is critical to our mission, we, of course, said yes. Upon arriving at their warehouse, we came to realize that this particular pallet was about seven feet tall and probably 2,500 pounds.

There are a couple of reasons I find this specific rescue interesting. The first is that, without Lovin’ Spoonfuls, all 2,000+ pounds of these grapes would have been discarded or composted – either way, not consumed by people. Sadly, that outcome isn’t uncommon: Too much of the food our society grows ends up being thrown away instead of feeding people who need it. Also, when food rots in a landfill it contributes to the buildup of greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere and to the climate emergency.

Another reason this is interesting is because it is indicative of some of the larger problems in our global food system and distribution chains. An unwanted pallet like this can end up at a distributor by driver error, incorrect ordering, or a number of other factors. The recipient then has nothing they can do with it, and the trucking companies are not able to take the pallet back and return them to their point of origin. Perishable foods, like grapes, may not survive that journey back, nor is it profitable for most companies to be concerned about the return. When this happens, often there is no organization like Lovin’ Spoonfuls able to find a home for these large quantities of fresh, healthy food. So it goes to waste.

It makes me proud to be part of the Spoonfuls team, and contribute to filling the gap between abundance and need. It may be a pallet of grapes today or several boxes of onions tomorrow, but either way, we’ll be there getting that food to people who need it.

Learn more about Sam Kensley and the other members of Team Lovin’ on our staff page.

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