Founder Stories: Ashley Stanley of Lovin' Spoonfuls
December 7, 2012
Food waste has bothered me since working in a coffee shop during college, where we had to dump leftover bakery items into the trash every night. Inspired by Ashley Stanley’s (Founder/Executive Director of Lovin’ Spoonfuls) resourceful solution, I asked her about her founding journey of making her idea a reality. And here is what she had to say:
“Lovin' Spoonfuls is a total accident! So much of what we hear about in the media (especially around the holidays) is a lack of resources, that there's not enough. I was out to lunch with my mom a few years ago, and as I sat at the table looking at everything we weren't going to finish - I thought to myself, ‘This can't be right, hunger can't be a problem of ‘not enough.’
I did some research and was shocked by what I found. That 40% (over 100 billion pounds) of what's produced is wasted, that with 49 million Americans classified as food insecure, the excess is enough to bridge the gap between such startling abundance and rising need.
I went around to supermarkets to see this wasted food in person; I wondered why it wasn't being redistributed. So, I asked if I could take it off the loading dock and bring it to social service centers myself. My resume was out on Monster and CareerBuilder, I was thinking about what I wanted to do next... But the more I learned about food waste and saw what was out there it felt pretty right on. Almost three years later and over 150,000 pounds of food distributed.
I think when I knew we were going to make a go of 'Spoonfuls, I just wanted to do it right. I think in any kind of new territory, you have to be willing to be teachable, surround yourself with folks who have been doing it for a long time, are successful and willing to help. I had cast a pretty wide net, and I'm so grateful for the people and organizations who've been so willing to help / mentor us. In regards to incorporating, our attorney Eleanor Uddo is amazing - she was the founding attorney for City Year.
We are committed to increasing access to wholesome food throughout the community, simply by taking advantage of pre-existing resources. ”
Hungry to learn more about Lovin’ Spoonfuls? Check out their website for upcoming events and ways to donate. Have a great weekend and be sure to come back to the MassChallenge Blog for more advice, insights and startup profiles from the Startup Accelerator.