Unique scheme trains homeless people to drive Food-Rescue vans for later redistribution to the needy

A collaboration between a trio of organisations in San Diego is providing food and employment to those who need it most — training them as drivers to collect food throughout the San Diego area that would otherwise go to waste.

Unique three-pronged collaboration meets multiple needs

The homeless employment collaboration between the Lucky Duck Foundation, The Salvation Army and Feeding San Diego has reached a milestone: more than 500,000 lbs. (226.8 metric tons) of food have been rescued as of June, 2022, and, all graduates have full-time job and are still housed, according to an announcement by the Lucky Duck Foundation on 21 June.

Source: Lucky Duck Foundation 

He picks up the food three times per week from grocery stores, like Costco and Vons, from Starbucks, and Amazon warehouses, among other businesses.

Daniel Rocha who had been homeless for nine months jumped at the job opportunity to be a route driver. He picks up the food three times per week from grocery stores, like Costco and Vons, from Starbucks, and Amazon warehouses, among other businesses. Source: Youtube/The Salvation Army

All participants have secured full-time jobs and homes

This unique, three-pronged partnership provides job training, employment and food to those who really need it most, while also rescuing perfectly viable food that would have otherwise ended up in landfill. With funding from the Lucky Duck Foundation’s employment and job training initiative, 

The Salvation Army hires residents of its homeless shelter and trains them to be food rescue route drivers, who then operate routes provided by Feeding San Diego including grocery stores and other businesses. 

The food is then distributed to those in need, often residents at The Salvation Army’s shelter. 

All 10 of The Salvation Army residents who participated in the program have managed to secure full-time employment and are still housed. 

Source: Lucky Duck Foundation 

San Diego nonprofits team up to rescue viable food that would have gone to waste and deliver it to those in need. Source: Youtube/The Salvation Army

According to the organisation’s website — “Feeding San Diego rescues high-quality food before it goes to waste from over 400 locations in San Diego County and over 225 farms and packing sheds throughout California,” Source: Youtube/The Salvation Army

The scheme is A stepping stone to set people up for “bigger and better things down the road”

For the past two years, Salvation Army in downtown San Diego has paid some of its residents $16 an hour to become food rescue drivers to help them gain employment experience. They are trained to operate routes provided by Feeding San Diego and rescue food before it’s wasted.

They stop at grocery stores and warehouses all over San Diego, such as Costco, Smart & Final, Starbucks and Amazon, and drop it off at Salvation Army shelters in downtown San Diego and Escondido as well as Oceanside in North San Diego County.

The goal, according to Lucky Duck Foundation Executive Director Drew Moser, is to give them enough experience, so they can eventually pay for their own housing and even gain full-time employment.

Moser told FOX News that in many ways this program is a “stepping stone,” that’s setting them up “for bigger and better things down the road.” 

So far, it’s proven to be successful. 

“A year ago today, I was needing these services and now I’m able to provide those services to others. And I am able to provide for my family,” Emiliano, one food rescue driver, told Fox News.

“Coming from the street, I know how it feels to be down and out and now I get to help people who are in that spot,” Daniel told Fox News. “It is a double bonus because this program gave me a place to live and a job.”

Source: FOX News

Meanwhile, the Salvation Army has a

The perfect fit. Meanwhile, the Salvation Army has a “desire to connect their shelter residents to meaningful employment opportunities,” Moser said. Source: Youtube/The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army, Feeding San Diego, LDF collaboration milestone & employee story: Daniel.Source: YouTube/The Salvation Army


There are lots of other ways to help homeless people. Donating food and clothing to homeless shelters is a great way to help. You could also volunteer your time with such an organisation. Educate yourself and others about homelessness and share facts about homelessness with others. Use letters to your local newspaper, blog posts, and social media to spread the word about how homelessness is a problem and what others can do to help. Click for 5 ways to help the homeless.

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