Tribute to Susan Wexler

We bid a fond farewell to our colleague and friend Susan Wexler, CFR outreach coordinator, who finished her work with Community Food Rescue on Nov. 30th. Susan joined CFR in 2016 to help expand the CFR network of food donor businesses, food assistance organizations, and volunteer food runners. With her help, CFR has grown from 46 food donor businesses in 2016 to 294 today.

Susan’s interest in environmental aspects of food recovery dovetailed well with her tenure as co-chair of the Montgomery County Food Council’s Environmental Impact Committee. In addition, as a Montgomery County Master Gardener, Susan coordinated CFR’s gleanings at local farms in collaboration with her fellow Master Gardeners and with Maryland Extension. Volunteers picked hundreds of pounds of post-harvest fruit and vegetables that were then donated to Montgomery County Free and Reduced Meals (FARM) schools, such as Harmony Hills and Washington Grove Elementary schools.

Susan Wexler and husband Hans Engler delivering gleaned apples from Waters Orchard to the Judy Center.

When Covid-19 changed the way that Manna Food Center distributed food in Spring 2020, Susan was an integral part of CFR’s pivot to start home deliveries of Food for Families.  This year, Susan managed the logistics of Manna’s Farm to Food Bank program, purchasing food and matching local farms with CFR member food assistance providers, who received fresh farm produce, meat, and eggs to be distributed to people who are food insecure.

“I am so happy to have been able to contribute to the growth of Community Food Rescue these past five years,” Susan said from her home in Bethesda. “CFR has become an even more valuable logistics linchpin in the supply chain of our local food system. It has expanded to integrate into Manna’s home delivery and Farm to Food Bank program.  Though these have been extra difficult times for our food insecure neighbors, it has been a particularly rewarding time to be of service and to work with wonderful colleagues at Manna and with our CFR partners.”

While we will miss working day-to-day with Susan, she has already volunteered at a recent apple glean. On Dec. 10th,  20 Master Gardeners and CFR volunteers picked 3,000 lbs. of apples that were distributed to Washington Grove Elementary School and to So What Else. We wish Susan well and look forward to her volunteering with CFR in 2022.

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