"So many of the pleasures of life are illusory, but a good dinner is a reality."
~ Joseph Chamberlain
How food becomes a meal
We procure the food for our meals from a number of different sources, including retail shopping, grocery store donations from Sonoma Market and Whole Foods Market in Sonoma, shopping at the Redwood Empire Food Bank in Santa Rosa, and seasonal donations from local farms.
With our organization’s mission always in mind, we strive to discover new strategies for food procurement that include healthy nutrition while also being mindful of issues surrounding 2022 California legislated requirements for business who need to donate excess edible food to feed people. We are committed to using nutritious foods for our meals as well as supporting local businesses in their efforts to donate food to non-profit organizations to feed people. We endeavor to make a positive impact in this important area of statewide greenhouse gas emission reduction goals (read about that here). Thus, Sonoma Meals on Wheels partners with Redwood Empire Food Bank, Sonoma Market, and Whole Foods Market to pick up donated food which is used in preparation of our meals, as well as shared with other community organizations which feed the valley. Foods which cannot be used for meals are sent to farms where they can be used to feed animals. Any excess food is composted.
The donation pickups from Sonoma Market and Whole Foods markets are coordinated 5 days per week between different volunteers who, Monday - Friday, pickup food donations at the local markets. Volunteers go to the grocery stores and pick up boxes of donated foods which receive "new life" as the meals we make at Sonoma Meals on Wheels. The produce we receive is an especially important part of our meal planning, as we strive to create meals that incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables. The food donations we receive can be quite abundant, and therefore we have minimally 2 vehicles picking up donations each day.
The food donations we receive are myriad, diverse, and plentiful, including produce, dairy, bakery, meat, grocery, and prepared foods. These donations serve a three-fold purpose:
1) The obvious cost savings for a non-profit organization receiving donated items
2) A commitment to reducing unnecessary food waste by partnering with the local grocery stores in Sonoma Valley, helping them to uphold county and state laws regarding food waste
3) Open and reciprocal relationships with other local nonprofits who help feed the people of Sonoma Valley with whom we share donated food that we procure that either a) we can't use expediently enough or b) those organizations will feed more people with what we pick up than we can.
This area of food donation pickups is one in which our organization is seeking volunteers who are able to commit either weekly or monthly to pick up donations at local markets and deliver them to Meals on Wheels and other valley nonprofits. Read here to find out more or click on the VOLUNTEER tab in the menu bar.