Food Finders volunteer gives her time to end hunger

Kirsten+volunteers+for+Food+finders+by+picking+up+food+from+one+location+like+a+grocery+store+and+delivers+it+to+a+local+food+pantry.++These+pantries+help+people+in+need.++Oct.+24%2C+2020+Photo+credit%3A+Kirsten+Spreitzer

Kirsten Spreitzer

Kirsten volunteers for Food finders by picking up food from one location like a grocery store and delivers it to a local food pantry. These pantries help people in need. Oct. 24, 2020 Photo credit: Kirsten Spreitzer

Jacqueline Cochran, Community Editor

Every Saturday since April, Long Beach resident Kirsten Spreitzer has been one of the vast number of volunteers that pick-up left over food from grocery stores or restaurants to deliver to any number of local food pantries through Food Finders Inc.

“When the shut down happened, I just knew I had to do something. I chose this because food speaks to me. I’ve always loved food and love to cook and the thought of people going hungry is something that is unacceptable for me,” said Spreitzer.

Founded in 1989, Food Finders is a unique local volunteer food program. It connects people who have extra food with organizations that help those in need of food. It’s known as a “food rescue program.”

“We partner with about 700 vendors that donate which is a combination of grocery stores, restaurants, corporate kitchens,” said Patty Larson, Food Finders Marketing Manager.

Once the food has been found it is routed to any number of food pantries, shelters and service groups that feed the hungry.

“I pick up food from like Whole Foods and I sometimes deliver to places like Pools of Hope, which is a California aquatic therapy and wellness program in Long Beach that serves veterans, elderly, disabled and children.

“The pandemic forced the closure of the pool but they switched gears and began giving out food every Saturday as a way to help,” said Spreitzer.

“Its super awesome and it’s really that simple. Once you become a volunteer, Food Finders has an app that you download. Once you log into the app you will receive the pick-up location and then the drop-off location.”

“When Food Finders began it was mainly a Long Beach based organization that has grown exponentially since that time,” said Larson.

Food Finders now services Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Bernardino County and some areas in San Diego.

Food that is donated for local food pantries. Persons in need are able to get breads and other types of food through the work of Food Finders. Oct. 10, 2020.
Food that is donated for local food pantries. Persons in need are able to get breads and other types of food through the work of Food Finders. Oct. 10, 2020. Photo credit: Kirsten Spreitzer
Food Finders work with stores and restaurants to find food for people in need. Volunteers conducts pick-ups and deliveries to various food pantries. Oct. 31
Food Finders work with stores and restaurants to find food for people in need. Volunteers conducts pick-ups and deliveries to various food pantries. Oct. 31 Photo credit: Kirsten Spreitzer

There are many local organizations that participate with Food Finders such as Christian Outreach in Action of Long Beach, the Salvation Army of Long Beach, Desert Region of Downey, FoodHelp of Downey, Long Beach Community Table of Bellflower and the Salvation Army of Bellflower.

“Our goal for this year is 14 million pounds of food, which translates into about 30,000 meals,” Larson said.

When asked why she has dedicated her time to volunteering, Spreitzer said “I put myself in the shoes of someone who would need to go to a food pantry and I would hope I could get assistance.

“As a matter of fact, I’ve been laid off before and didn’t know what I was going to do. If I paid my rent then other necessities I would be without,” said Spreitzer.

Food Finders is gearing up for their holiday sort and pack. This is where they will provide family food boxes for the upcoming holidays. Click this link if you want to be a one time volunteer for one of the special events or a regular volunteer like Kirsten.

“Everyone should do something to help, especially now. Imagine if we each did one thing, think about how many people we could reach.

“If you can’t give money, then donate time. It doesn’t cost anything to donate a little of your time,” said Spreitzer.