When Brett Myers witnessed local restaurants and grocery stores discarding mass amounts of fresh food on the daily, he sought to repurpose that food by putting it on plates instead of in landfills. Food recovery—or the retrieval of foods that would eventually go to waste—became the sole purpose of Myers’ Rockville-based nonprofit, Nourish Now.
“Our mission is to bring food security to families in need throughout Montgomery County,” says Myers. “We were able to grow an organization that serves foods that everybody would have every day, like home-cooked meals, perishable foods and nonperishable foods.”
The Nourish Now team also abides by two important principles and philosophies that define their work: “food with dignity” and “giving surplus value.”
“Food with dignity means we give families high-quality food and we also make families feel welcome,” explains Myers. “We make families feel as comfortable as possible.”
Nourish Now’s food recovery initiatives include scheduling pickups from food banks and partnering with local food donors based in Montgomery County and the District. Often, Myers and his team reach out to potential donors for a steady food supply. But donors also reach out to the Nourish Now team and readily offer their leftover foods.
“We work with produce companies, large distributors, big businesses in the area that have cafeterias and caterers—we want to make sure we have enough food for the families we serve,” says Myers.
Nourish Now has 15 distribution sites, many of which are within Montgomery County Public Schools and local churches. During the pandemic months, Myers and his team of workers and volunteers are serving approximately 450 families per day and 2,300 families per week.
“I always had a passion for helping people, and I always wanted to make the world a better place,” says Myers. “I just wanted to put all my energy into something, like wake up in the morning and go out and help people.”
Though the ongoing pandemic has added additional health and safety precautions, the Nourish Now team is still maintaining its normal schedules and making its usual rounds of deliveries, pickups and distributions for the community. And according to Myers, the team experienced a huge outpour of support from dedicated volunteers and local community members who are providing generous donations.
“It reminds me of Thanksgiving, just in the sense of how volunteers come out a lot during Thanksgiving and give back,” Myers says. “This is a time that is obviously the opposite of a festive holiday, but it’s a time when we’re uniting and people are gathering together and making a difference.”
Mission: Nourish Now is a nonprofit food bank committed to solving two major social issues simultaneously: food waste and hunger
How to Help: Volunteer opportunities include unloading donating food, packaging meals for distribution and helping families with their donations.
Contact Information: 301-330-0222; nourishnow.org
This story originally appeared in the October-November 2020 issue of Montgomery Magazine.