After a visit to Phoenix, Saving Grace began with the aim to reroute food that is slightly bruised and completely edible to charitable food banks.
"Leftover food doesn’t have to mean rotten food. There is a window of time between sell-by and spoil dates. A picture-perfect consumer culture that expects every apple to be Disney shiny on store shelves means stores give perishables an untimely death, said Beth Ostdiek Smith.
"Beth is the founder and director of Saving Grace. On a trip to Phoenix to visit her sister, she saw a food-rescue group and decided that Omaha needed one. In 2013, Beth started a small nonprofit called Saving Grace. Beth hit up old contacts, applied for grants and got a truck and an office and hired two people: a program manager named Judy Rydberg and a driver, Randy Hansen.
"The shoestring organization operates on a $350,000 budget, which pays for Randy to make daily trips during the week to places like QT, Hy-Vee, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and other vendors, including caterers. Then Randy drops the food at 17 different nonprofits. The food never sits in a warehouse. It goes from a store cooler to Randy’s truck to food pantry coolers — then to people like Lewis."--Erin Grace, Omaha.com