A Journey of Resilience and Impact: My Interim CEO Experience at 412 Food Rescue

By February 7, 2024March 18th, 2024Staff Feature

It’s been almost a year since I took the role as Interim CEO with 412 Food Rescue and Food Rescue Hero. Following a visionary co-founder and leader like Leah Lizarondo was an honor and a privilege. I am in awe of the incredible journey this organization has undertaken – not just this year, but over the past eight years. As we stand at an inflection point in the organization’s history, I can’t help but marvel at the achievements that have shaped this organization into the powerhouse it is today.

Under Leah’s leadership, 412 Food Rescue experienced exponential growth over the past nine years – transforming into the largest on-demand volunteer food transport network in North America. The statistics speak volumes: over 49,000 registered volunteers, more than 25 cities served by our award-winning technology app, and an astonishing 180 million pounds of perfectly good food rescued to date. That’s equivalent to 151 million meals, and the impact doesn’t stop there! We’ve also mitigated more than 490 million pounds of CO2 emissions – the equivalent of removing 50,000 gas vehicles from the road for a year. 

My time in Pittsburgh has been nothing short of incredible and I am forever indebted to this city and this team. The shared vision of the 412 Food Rescue staff, board, volunteers, food donors, and nonprofit partners have left an indelible mark on me – both personally and professionally. The unique spirit of Pittsburgh, from the famous “Pittsburgh left” to the camaraderie of a city that prides itself on resilience, has made my experience here unforgettable. I’ve come to understand that in Pittsburgh, just like in our organization, people move with purpose and determination.

One of the most rewarding aspects of my brief tenure has been witnessing the unwavering support of the community. Through volunteerism, food donations, monetary support, and acting as brand ambassadors, the investment that this community makes in food rescue is the true key to our success. The shared passion and sense of purpose resonate with the very essence of community service, making Pittsburgh a better place for all.

Buoyed by the support of the community, the staff and board members at 412 Food Rescue is also nothing short of extraordinary. Not only is their commitment to the mission palpable, their knowledge of the needs of our nonprofit partners and the people they serve is vast. Their ability to come together as a coordinated team to ensure surplus food reaches those in need is second to none. 

At the core, interim leaders are change agents and we ask teams to take bold steps into their collective future. The board and staff at 412 Food Rescue have continually risen to that challenge and have successfully navigated change, celebrated victories, and created a workplace culture that is as vibrant and unified as the city itself. 

412 Food Rescue is committed to being at the forefront of food recovery – enhancing food sovereignty that affords communities access to the fresh and nutritious foods they want and need. As we transition into the next chapter for this organization, the vision is clear: growth! Through our software Food Rescue Hero, the organization aspires to serve at least one hundred cities across North America by 2030. This means more communities served, more volunteers mobilized, and more food rescued. Together, we will leave an indelible mark on the fight against food waste and hunger. 

As we embark on this next chapter, I invite you to join us in shaping the future of 412 Food Rescue. Whether you’re a volunteer, a donor, a nonprofit partner, or a community member, your support is invaluable. Your dedication has made this organization a beacon of hope for countless individuals. Let us continue to work hand in hand, inspired by our shared mission, as we embark on this exciting journey toward a more sustainable and equitable future.

Here’s to Pittsburgh, here’s to 412 Food Rescue, and here’s to a future where no one goes hungry!

In gratitude and anticipation,

Karin Sabey
Interim CEO, 412 Food Rescue