NLA advances food recovery program thanks to food sealer

By Austin Bohlen/Delta Staff Writer

The NLA’s food recovery program collects excess food from Missouri Valley College’s cafeteria and distributes it to food insecure families. The program received a building and a freezer last semester and just recently acquired a food sealer to help preserve the food NLA recovers. 

Jamie Gold, an assistant professor of human services and the faculty advisor for NLA, said the food sealer has advanced the food recovery operation.

“It’s very efficient, it has a nice heat seal on it, we can stack all of those things in the freezer,” Gold said. “So it has just become a more efficient and a cleaner kind of operation since we got the food sealer.”

Gold recognized that the next step forward for the food recovery program was to partner with other programs in the community to help distribute food to the families that need it. NLA has partnered with Missouri Valley Community Action Agency and programs like Baby Grace to help with distribution. 

“We now distribute food to all of those families once a week,” Gold said. “There are about 30 families in Baby Grace and we go down every Thursday and distribute food.”

NLA would also like to partner with more organizations to donate more food to the program. Missouri Valley’s cafeteria is currently the program’s most consistent donor. Steven Sims, a member of NLA, talked about the importance of finding more food donors within the community.

“Finding more food donors and going out to other places and showing them our work,” Sims said. “Trying to get other places around the area involved.” 

Gold also mentioned that the program lacks certain foods that would create balanced meals for these families. Gold spoke on how partnering with other organizations like food pantries could improve the food recovery program. 

“The one thing we really don’t have a lot of is fruit,” Gold said. “So we would like to get food from the food pantry in Columbia by partnering with them.”

NLA will be having an open house on March 31 from 2:00 to 4:30 p.m. at the NLA’s food recovery building. NLA invited their biggest supporters from the community to see the operation and the progress it’s made. The open house will be invite only due to concerns with the COVID-19 virus. 

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