Co-Founder and Executive Director, Eat Greater Des Moines
Aubrey Alvarez is co-founder and Executive Director of Eat Greater Des Moines in Des Moines. Eat Greater Des Moines started in April 2013 and unites the community in providing quality food access for all. By bringing people to the table, Eat Greater Des Moines empowers partners in our community to connect, support one another, and move ideas into action through information sharing, building relationships, and providing education on the most urgent issues related to food in our community.
Aubrey is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa (bachelor of arts in health promotion) and Drake University (masters in public administration). She is also a member of the leadership team for the Iowa Hunger Coalition, Regional Food System Working Group, and Hunger Free Dallas County Coalition. She also is active in the Iowa Food Waste Stakeholder Coalition, Partnership For a Hunger Free Polk County, and OpportUNITY Food Insecurity Work Group. She is a 2015 graduate of the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute.
Aubrey and her husband Leo live in Ankeny with their daughters, Lulu and Nora.
Eat Greater Des Moines
Eat Greater Des Moines recently expanded their food rescue efforts to include transportation. In April 2018, Eat Greater Des Moines organized and funded a food rescue transportation pilot in partnership with WesleyLife and Kum & Go. The pilot funded four WesleyLife Meals on Wheels drivers picking up fresh food donations from 22 Kum & Go convenience stores and delivering to 12 recipient organizations, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
WesleyLife’s Meals on Wheels directly supports the health and independence of 1,000 adults in the Des Moines Metro through delivery of nutritious meals to their front doors. A dedicated team of drivers deliver meals between 10:45 am and 1:45 pm Monday through Friday. These hours created an opportunity to maximize resources already had available while filling a gap within the food recovery system.
Outside of lack of awareness of food rescue, transportation is the greatest barrier to increasing food recovery efforts in the metro. By providing transportation, Eat Greater Des Moines was able to engage new recipient organizations into the food rescue efforts. During the pilot program, recipient organizations included food pantries, afterschool programs, and five affordable housing apartment complexes. Including the affordable living communities was a new partnership and was incredibly successful. With an average of 20,000 items donated each month, hundreds of individuals and families have been impacted.
The success of the pilot program led to full implementation of the program. Now the focus is to expand and scale up food rescue transportation through additional partnerships and innovation.