Updated: Jul 18
Mid-day over a cup of coffee, Tom Fernandez shares, “We try to break the mold at home. What is breakfast, lunch, or dinner food? Leftovers can make a healthy, nutritious meal any time of day.”
Tom is one of the co-founders of Last Mile Food Rescue. A graduate of Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, he stumbled on a post about an alumnus that came up with an app that was taking wholesome food that would otherwise be thrown away and redistributing that food to pantries and food access points.
That moment lit a fire inside. He began to wonder – “what am I supposed to do with this information?” A former P&G executive, Tom was familiar with licensing and acquisitions, so he contacted this fellow alumnus and began discussing how to get the app to Cincinnati. In working with other agencies that were recovering food, he heard about Julie Shifman, who was trying to get involved with food rescue in the area. The two partnered to create Last Mile Food Rescue!
Food insecurity and food waste are addressed by the work of Last Mile Food Rescue. “I have a vision and strategy, I have a logistics perspective” shares Tom. But having a vision is only one part of the puzzle. They also need someone with community credibility to enable startup. “Julie is the face of determination, she won't be denied. She gets so much done and has so much passion about it."
Once established, the pair brought in Eileen Budo, the current CEO of Last Mile Food Rescue. Eileen is an expert in supply chain management. She knows how to access food and move it quickly and efficiently to those who need it most.
Tom’s expertise and concerns extend beyond the success of Last Mile Food Rescue. Our interview concluded with the reminder that on March 1, 2023 the COVID-era extensions of SNAP benefits came to an end. “There are 109K people in Hamilton County who use SNAP benefits. The need for support is climbing throughout the region. Last Mile Food Rescue is putting all the chips on the table. We need to do more, faster!”
Volunteer, become a food donor, or make a financial contribution today! To get involved with Last Mile Food Rescue visit: https://lastmilefood.org/volunteerportal/.
Eggcellent Fritters (GF)
1 cup cooked lentils
1 clove garlic
1 tsp. paprika
½ tsp. cumin
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
½ cup mashed sweet potato
1 to 2 tbsp. oil
Preheat pan on medium high, add oil
In a bowl or food processor mix lentils, garlic, paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, egg, and sweet potatoes.
Scoop (like cookie dough) onto pan
Fry for 10-15 minutes, flip if necessary