Published August 16th, 2023
Lamorinda Sunrise Rotary Club donates van to White Pony Express to expand food rescue capacity
Submitted by Steve Spraitzar
The Lamorinda Sunrise Rotary Club celebrating the arrival of the new delivery van for White Pony Express. Photo courtesy Lamorinda Sunrise Rotary Club
A heartbreaking 1 in 4 Americans are skipping meals or relying on food donations to survive. Balance this troubling statistic with the fact that we throw away 40% of our food supply - perfectly good food that could wipe out hunger in the U.S. if it was rescued and delivered to those in need. In Contra Costa County alone, 10% of the population, or more than 113,000 residents, are food insecure.
Food waste and food insecurity are the twin scourges tackled by White Pony Express' (WPE) unique food rescue approach. Founded in 2013 by Dr. Carol Weyland Conner, WPE is dedicated to alleviating the food insecurity experienced by many in our midst through a volunteer-powered service model.
The name White Pony Express is a mashup of two important ideas: the white horse, which is a symbol for unity in many faith streams, and the Pony Express, which revolutionized fast, reliable delivery. Their name is a perfect description of the benevolence and urgency of the mission.
WPE refrigerated vans pick up healthy, perishable food from local grocery stores and restaurants and bring it to their distribution center, where it is quality-controlled and sorted according to the needs of their 90 recipient partners by dedicated volunteer teams.
This perfectly good food would otherwise end up in the landfill to make space for new inventory or because it is nearing its "best by" date. Food waste claims the most space in America's landfills where it emits environmentally harmful greenhouse gasses. Thanks to WPE, this food is recovered and delivered to those that need it most.
All of this takes place within 24 hours, seven days a week, and it is delivered free of charge with warm smiles and the understanding that we are one human family.
Lamorinda Sunrise Rotary led the project to purchase a new refrigerated delivery van, raising over $90,000 which funded the vehicle and installation of a refrigeration unit. While Lamorinda Sunrise spearheaded the campaign, substantial contributions were received from many generous individuals and organizations, including 15 local Rotary Clubs. They are the Rotary Clubs of Alamo, Antioch, Brentwood, Clayton Valley/Concord Sunrise, Concord, Concord-Diablo, Hercules, Lafayette, Lamorinda Sunrise, Martinez, Moraga, Orinda, Rossmoor, Walnut Creek, and Walnut Creek Sunrise. Additionally, grants were received from Rotary District 5160, Mechanics Bank, and the Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church.
Informed of the success of the campaign, Eve Birge, WPE's executive director, commented, "This is incredible news - I am awed! With this transit, we can expand our reach and deliver more healthy food to those that need it most." Noted Dan Herbert, president of Lamorinda Sunrise Rotary, "We are delighted to have partnered with White Pony Express, thereby enabling them to deliver fresh food to thousands of individuals in need."
For more information on the White Pony Express mission, to donate, or to volunteer, visit

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