Press Release | 412 Food Rescue to Open 100 Cooking Schools throughout Allegheny County

By October 2, 2018August 4th, 2022Media

412 Food Rescue to Open 100 Cooking Schools throughout Allegheny County: Food Education Program being piloted with UPMC Health Plan to expand curriculum and impact health

October 1, 2018 – 412 Food Rescue is the region’s leader in preventing healthy food from entering the waste stream and working to end hunger in our communities. In just three years, 412 Food Rescue has rescued over 4 million pounds of surplus food and delivered it directly to nonprofits who serve communities experiencing food insecurity.

412 Food Rescue has also launched a food education program aimed to help families to shop for and cook healthy meals on a budget. Working through its network of over nonprofit partners, 412 Food Rescue delivers the nationally renowned Cooking Matters curriculum, the only extended food education curriculum in the region.

Over 575 adults have graduated through the program and this year, 412 Food Rescue aims to launch 100 Cooking Schools throughout Allegheny County–ensuring that everyone has access to food and nutrition education.

“The first step to taking control of our health is education and awareness,” says Leah Lizarondo, 412 Food Rescue CEO. “Cooking Matters ensures that everyone has equal access to food education.”

In April, 412 Food Rescue brought the first Cooking Matters Train the Trainer program to the Pittsburgh region, a training program that provides nonprofit organizations with all of the on-site tools to implement a cooking school program.

“With support from UPMC Health Plan, 412 Food Rescue will launch the Train the Trainer program which aims to open 100 cooking schools for our nonprofit partners throughout Allegheny County to create a sustainable model of year-round food education,” said Hana Uman, 412 Food Rescue Program Manager.

412 Food Rescue first partnered with Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Family Care Connection Centers to bring Share our Strength’s Cooking Matters program to the Pittsburgh area. The organization has also developed partnerships with Adagio Health and American Heart Association to expand the program throughout the region.

“Healthy eating patterns early in life can help children avoid a myriad of health-related issues like obesity and heart disease,” said Dr. William Shrank, Chief Medical Officer, UPMC Insurance Services Division. “Many adults do not have cooking skills that would allow them to make healthier, more affordable meals at home for themselves and their family. Programs like Cooking Matters Train the Trainer are important to the overall wellbeing of the community, and why UPMC Health Plan is pleased to support the work of 412 Food Rescue.”

412 Food Rescue will kick-off this partnership with Train the Trainer sessions starting at each Highlands Family Center in Tarentum and Duquesne Family Center both starting on October 2.

Link to Hi-Res Cooking Matters photos: Photos

About 412 Food Rescue

412 Food Rescue launched in March 2015 to address the disconnect between the fact that 40 percent of food produced in the United States is wasted while one in seven go hungry. 412 Food Rescue’s unique approach takes the problem through the lens of an urban food system, impacting waste at each stage of the food supply value chain. Utilizing technology to solve the logistics challenge of retail food recovery, 412 Food Rescue is the only organization in Allegheny County that focuses on food that would otherwise be discarded, impacting not only hunger but also the environment. 412 Food Rescue’s goal is to introduce innovative solutions to eradicate food waste in the region and expand its model to cities around the country. To date, 412 Food Rescue has redirected over 4 million pounds of perfectly good food from going to landfills. The organization works with over 500 food retailers, 600 nonprofit partners and over 1,400 volunteer drivers, our Food Rescue Heroes.

About UPMC Health Plan

The UPMC Insurance Services Division is owned by a world-renowned health care provider and insurer based in Pittsburgh, Pa. The UPMC Insurance Services Division – which includes UPMC Health Plan, WorkPartners, UPMC for Life, UPMC for You, UPMC for Kids, and Community Care Behavioral Health — offers a full range of group health insurance, Medicare, Special Needs, CHIP, Medical Assistance, behavioral health, employee assistance and workers’ compensation products and services to more than 3.4 million members. For more information, visit