In Eugene, Springfield, and Lane County, neighbors don’t let each other go hungry — and FOOD for Lane County keeps the community fed. “We serve anyone who needs help,” says Brad Bassi, Logistics and Food Resourcing Manager. “We are the stopgap that helps them get back on their feet and be self-sufficient.”
FOOD for Lane County feeds 200 Eugeneans every day at its restaurant-style Dining Room and serves up healthy, ready-to-eat food at several other locations throughout the week. Community members can also visit a food pantry, elders receive food boxes or Meals on Wheels deliveries, and there’s a summer lunch program for schoolchildren. But the organization’s biggest role is supporting over 160 partner agencies that distribute food. “We stay focused on sourcing the food and processing it so they can stay focused on serving their clients,” says Bassi.
All told, FOOD for Lane County distributes about 8.5 million pounds of food a year, and half of that comes from local sources. “We live in an incredibly generous community,” says Bassi, “and are lucky to have a strong food and beverage industry here.” Grocery stores, food manufacturers, and farms large and small donate food. As Bassi reflects, “We really are the community’s food bank.”
And the organization’s volunteers and supporters come from every walk of life. Bassi says, “We have multimillionaire donors and people who might be struggling themselves. Everyone’s been hungry and can understand the effects that can have in the longer term.” And that sense of neighbors helping neighbors frequently comes full circle. “People want to support themselves and access food on their own,” says Bassi. “Often, after they get through that difficult time, they will come in to make a donation and say, ‘We used FOOD for Lane County for a few months and it allowed us to pay our rent and not become homeless.’ And they want to pass that help on to others who are struggling.”
What’s more, FOOD for Lane County diverts massive quantities of food that might have gone to waste. “We partner with every grocery store in the county and pick up food every day that is on the cusp of expiration. We use the vast majority of what we bring in while maintaining strict food safety standards,” says Bassi. “Our waste is only between 4% and 5% out of over 8 million pounds, and we’re very proud of that.” When possible, any food waste goes to local farms for composting.
But some items must be disposed of or recycled — and when it was time to choose a trash and recycling hauler, Apex was the obvious partner. Bassi says, “We pride ourselves on our relationships with local vendors and businesses. It’s instilled into the culture here, and it’s aligned with our mission of helping in the community.”
“Our work would not be possible without easy and efficient waste removal,” says Bassi. Even with robust reuse practices, FOOD for Lane County generates tons of cardboard recycling, and they depend on Apex to keep everything running smoothly. Bassi says, “There are times we need to move more product out and they’ll accommodate with special pickup. They try to accommodate us with their schedule too. It might be better for them to come earlier in the day, but they come later so we don’t have to leave waste out overnight.”
Apex’s stellar customer service helps the organization stay focused on their mission. “We can always call and get a person on the phone. That’s a huge deal for me. And the drivers are great. They’ll wait a couple of minutes for us to bring out a load of trash. We know they are busy, and we really appreciate that,” says Bassi.
At Apex, we are proud to play a role in feeding the community and keeping our spaces clean and green. In this special place we call home, no one should go hungry. We invite you to join us in supporting our neighbors with a monetary donation or a gift of time to FOOD for Lane County.
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“The ethics and commitment to the environment is an important part of who we partner with,” says Teri.