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Rescue Mission Alliance Central Coast workers receive donated food from Marian Regional Medical Center on March 26, 2024. (Dave Alley/KEYT)

SANTA MARIA, Calif. – A new Dignity Health program is now helping feed hundreds of people who are battling homelessness on the Central Coast.

The healthcare company recently teamed up with Replate, a leading food recovery organization, along with Rescue Mission Alliance Central Coast to create a food recovery program that is directing surplus food to those in need, rather than to local landfills.

“The Replate program is a program where we reconstitute our safe leftover foods, and we will give them to an organization in need,” said Kevin Leitner, Marian Regional Medical Center Food and Nutrition Director. “It will reduce food going into the landfill, which will reduce the CO2 emissions, and it will reconstitute and use safe leftover foods to give to people in need.”

All three Dignity Health hospitals, Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria, French Hospital Medical Center in San Luis Obispo, and Arroyo Grande Community Hospital are taking part in the new program.

Each week, the hospitals donate any unused food to Rescue Mission Alliance Central Coast, who later distributes the meals to people through their community outreach services.

Since it first went into operation last month, Marian Regional Medical Center has donated food the past four weeks, for a total of 634 pounds.

The donations add up to 529 meals served, along with 173,692 gallons of water saved and 1,301 pounds of CO2 diverted.

The food recovery program is in compliance with California Senate Bill 1383 (SB 1383), which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as methane, and address food insecurity throughout the state.

“By donating our surplus food to the Central Coast Rescue Mission, we are not only reducing waste,
but also making a positive impact on the lives of those in need,” said Sue Andersen, Marian Regional Medical Center President & CEO.

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