Keep Austin Fed has been reducing food waste in Austin for more than 15 years, and it just got a huge bump from one of Austin’s most philanthropic citizens.
The nonprofit announced Friday that it was the recipient of a $100,000 grant from JP’s Peace, Love & Happiness Foundation, an organization established by hair care and tequila maven John Paul DeJoria to support charities that focus on sustainability, social responsibility and animal-friendliness.
Keep Austin Fed says the donation will allow the group to expand its food rescue efforts, which include taking excess food from restaurants and catered events to community centers and nonprofits.
Since 2004, Keep Austin Fed has relied on a network of volunteers to get surplus food to people who need it. The nonprofit works with more than 50 local food businesses to collect surplus perishable food — more than 13,000 meals weekly — that volunteers transport to more than 60 partner organizations. The organization rescued 800,000 pounds of food in 2019 and is quickly approaching 4 million pounds of food, overall, that has been diverted from compost or landfills, Barden said.
"Keep Austin Fed is proof that grassroots efforts have a huge impact on our world. Our growth wouldn’t be possible without a generous community of volunteers and supporters who believe in our mission," Keep Austin Fed Executive Director Lisa Barden said in a statement. "Funding from JP’s Peace, Love & Happiness Foundation will help provide Keep Austin Fed with cold storage facilities, allowing us to safely collect food from businesses that cater meals so we can redistribute it to our partners all over town."
DeJoria said in a statement that Keep Austin Fed’s mission of feeding community members while reducing food waste struck him as "incredible."
"There is so much wasted food from restaurants, grocery stores and caterers that goes to waste. (Keep Austin Fed) is definitely one of the answers to feeding America," he said.
The donation will help Keep Austin Fed meet its budget needs for 2020, but it is always looking for more volunteers and partner organizations. You can find out more at keepaustinfed.org.