B-Line formally kicks off B-share program

On the heels of news this week about Oregon's higher-than-average hunger rate, B-Line Sustainable Urban Delivery formally launched its B-share program in an effort to get more of the city's edible food into the hands of charities and out of landfills.

The program, in development for the last three months, taps B-Line's already out-and-about cargo tricycles to transport surplus food on their normal routes and deliver it to Portland food charities, including Sisters Of The Road, Blanchet House and St. Francis Dining Hall.

"It's about getting quality food to those in need at half the price," explained Randy Koch, chairman and operating partner at Southeast Portland-based B-Line.

The company is raising money to cover the costs of the program and aims to start delivering 10,000 meals per month in 2011, while at the same time adding more food-donor partners to the program to ramp up its efficiencies.

Koch said B-share picked up 200 pounds of vegetables Tuesday from Whole Foods, an early B-share partner, but that charities would like to see more protein-laden foods such as meat and cheeses added to the program to add even more value to an efficient model.

"We're already out there and we're already coming back," Koch said of the company's cargo trikes which are designed to carry up to 700 pounds. "This way we can deliver healthier food with more efficiency and at a lower price point. That's what's going to make this sustainable over time."

"This is social entrepreneurship at its best," said Josh Hinerfeld, CEO of Organically Grown Company in Clackamas and a board member of the Oregon Food Bank. "This is an underserved niche, delivering perishable food to hungry people."

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