by Carol A. Clark – LA Daily Post
Famine to Feast, a local nonprofit organization that receives and delivers food donations to area food pantries, is under new management. For the last three months, Los Alamos resident Tonya Sprouse-Mullins has been in charge of operating Famine to Feast in Los Alamos. She took over from founders Jaret and Jen McDonald, who are moving to Alaska in March to pursue a new business, a kayak touring company called Just Add Water Adventure. Jen said they are leaving Famine to Feast in very capable hands. She said Sprouse-Mullins “is our lead volunteer and she has gone above and beyond what we expect in a volunteer.” She added Sprouse-Mullins volunteers for a myriad of organizations in town including Relay for Life.“Tonya has always been a huge asset to the community,” Jen said.Sprouse-Mullins said she has been working with Famine to Feast for almost two years. Jaret and Jen approached her to get involved. Sprouse-Mullins said she went to high school with Jaret and they have been friends ever since. She added she also likes Famine to Feast’s mission.Sprouse Mullins said she is really excited to take the lead on the organization. “It’s really something I want to do,” she said. “Famine to Feast has been doing amazing things … it’s a great choice for me to be the point of contact in New Mexico while they are in Alaska.” As the new leader for the local organization, Sprouse-Mullins said she hopes to keep Famine to Feast in the public eye. She added she would like the organization to be more involved in holiday food drives as well as connect with more nonprofits.“I would like to just get the word out about Famine to Feast and network with more nonprofits all over New Mexico with the same mission,” she said.Although Jen and Jaret will not be handling Famine to Feast operations locally, they plan on expanding the organization to where they go. “We absolutely want to focus on Famine to Feast in other areas,” Jaret said.He added that the hope is that Famine to Feast will spread and it will continue to get bigger and better.The organization kicked off in 2015 and participation in the program has been strong. Jaret said last year enough food was donated to the organization to almost fill a semi-truck. Since starting, he estimates close to 100,000 pounds of food and homeless shelter items have been donated.A lot of factors have contributed to its success. “The fact that it is easy … we just make it so easy,” Jen said. Donations can be made through the Famine to Feast website, faminetofeastnow.org, or through the organization’s app, which is available through iTunes; it is also available as a Android app. The way it works is simple: participants enter the food items they wish to donate on either the app or the website and provide their location. The food will be picked up, a tax donation receipt will be printed, and the food will be delivered to the pantries. There is a list on the website identifying what can and cannot be donated.Jaret also pointed out that the organization has very little overhead and is inexpensive to operate. “Our main focus is food. But we do collect items for homeless shelters,” Jaret said. “We focus on trying to keep stuff out of the landfill.”The main recipient for the food donations is LA Cares. As the McDonalds move out of state and begin their new business, Jaret said they will miss Los Alamos.“We love Los Alamos and we’re excited to go out and do something new,” he said, adding that they thank the community for its support.Jen said, “We’re excited to spread the word (on Famine to Feast) and spread the word on neighbors helping neighbors. We support Tonya and we hope Los Alamos continue to support Famine to Feast.” One way to support Famine to Feast is by volunteering. Sprouse-Mullins said helpers are always being sought and that people can volunteer their time according to their schedule. If interested in volunteering, call Sprouse-Mullins at 505.629.7817.