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KENAI, Alaska (AP) — The Kenai Peninsula Food Bank, the main hunger alleviation program for the peninsula, collected more than 750,000 pounds of food in 2017.

Food Bank Executive Director Linda Swarner said staff and volunteers will do their best to make sure none of that goes to waste.

The food bank trains its staff and volunteers to evaluate when something can be used rather than making a snap judgment, Swarner said.

“It’s a conscious effort on my part that we don’t want to throw away anything that can be used,” she said.

The food bank reuses coffee grounds. That goes into a small compost pile the food bank keeps and gives local farmers access to, Swarner said.

Soda cans get recycled and donated to a youth organization. The plastic domes that cover cakes or baked goods are given out for various purposes, such as miniature greenhouses, the Peninsula Clarion reported .

The food bank also has a diner. The menu at Fireweed Diner can vary based on what the grocery stores have to give them.

The food bank gets a variety of different fish through distribution programs.

This spring is Swarner’s final one at the food bank — she will retire effective April 1, exactly 15 years from when she started. Things have changed since she started there, with the programs and need growing. The food bank for the last several years has been running a weekly farmer’s market on Tuesdays, began a greenhouse to grow its own vegetables, and recently added a grant-funded Development Director position.


Information from: (Kenai, Alaska) Peninsula Clarion,