Food 4U Food Recovery Program

Did you ever wonder what happens to food in the grocery store that is too close to the "best before" date to sell?  What about food that is rejected on delivery because some of it has been damaged or partially spoiled? What about the package of strawberries with one or two mouldy ones?


In most cases the answer to these questions is- the food is disposed of in the dumpster. Every day thousands of pounds of good food is thrown out.  Nobody feels good about such waste.  Loaves and Fishes Food 4U Program works to provide a viable, efficient, and cost effective way for businesses in the food industry to direct good food away from the landfill and into the hands of needy people.  

In September 2012 Loaves and Fishes launched the Food 4U Food Recovery Program.  Loaves and Fishes has collection bins in the shipping and receiving area of two local grocery stores where staff can place items they are not able to sell.  Loaves and Fishes picks these items up 7 days a week.  Food is also received from restaurants, food wholesalers and trucking companies.  Once collected, volunteers sort and inspect the food.  Any food that is not suitable for distribution is composted.  Food is then distributed within 48 hours and in most cases within 6 hours.   This food has been distributed to:

  • Clients of Loaves and Fishes
  • Salvation Army
  • 7-10 Club
  • Nanaimo Food Share
  • Nanaimo Women's Resource Centre
  • John Barsby Breakfast Program
  • Boys and Girls Club.  

In the first 2 years of operation, over $1.6 million worth of food has been recovered!

Loaves and Fishes is planning a major expansion of Food 4 U in 2015.  This expansion will include partnering with more grocery stores, food wholesalers and restaurants as well as significant investments in operational infrastructure.  Stay Tuned!

Loaves and Fishes wishes to thank our community sponsors that enable make this program possible:

  • Fresh Point Wholesale for providing Fruits and Veggies
  • Harsma Waste Innovations for providing free disposal of all food not suitable for consumption