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Saving Grace helps fight hunger and reduce food waste

The non-profit organization makes daily trips to local grocery stores and restaurants to collect fresh, perishable foods that the store is not going to use.

Food pantries in the Omaha area are now getting some much-needed help just in time for the holidays.

"We're tapping into a new area, 40 percent of food is being thrown away and we can rescue that," founder of Saving Grace, Beth Ostdiek-Smith, says the new idea began in 2013.

The non-profit organization makes daily trips to local grocery stores and restaurants to collect fresh, perishable foods that the store is not going to use.

The trucks then immediately deliver the food to local pantries.

Ostdiek-Smith says the method is to provide a safe means to get food from one place to another while building connections in the metro.

Saving Grace was an idea the founder brought over from a group, Waste Not, in Phoenix, Ariz.

Originally there were only three food donors. Three years later the organization collects from 30 donors and stocks the fridges of 23 local non-profits.

"Saving Grace has provided us with 70,000 pounds of food, that equates out to 58,000 meals," said Jeff Senn with Together Inc., one of the food pantries that receives the perishable foods.

"It’s been very heartwarming to see our community embrace what we're trying to do here," Ostdiek-Smith said.

In order to donate food, it must be from a professional business and cannot be set out to the public.

There is a 20-pound minimum for the trucks to come collect it.

For more information about Saving Grace, click here.

To learn more about Together Inc. click here.

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