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Deirdre Newman It seemed like such a simple idea...

November 29, 2002

Deirdre Newman

It seemed like such a simple idea.

Pick up extra food from grocery stores that would normally be

discarded and deliver it to social service agencies.

But when Corona del Mar High School senior Joe Klunder first

broached this idea to the management of a Newport Beach grocery

store, he was immediately thwarted.

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"I called the manager ... and he hung up on me," Klunder said.

But the 17-year-old was undeterred.

Through legal research, cold-calling and perseverance, Klunder

transformed his kernel of an idea into the Youth Community

Organization Serving Others, which delivers food and clothing to

various social service agencies in the Newport-Mesa area.

On Thanksgiving, Klunder delivered a shopping cart worth of bread

from Pavilions in Newport Beach to the Senior Center in Costa Mesa.

Bill Mills, the center's donation coordinator expressed his

appreciation for Klunder's spirit of generosity.

"He's great -- he's a blessing here," Mills said.

Klunder was inspired to act two years ago when he saw a Newport

Beach grocery store throw away a lot of fresh food at the end of the

day. Based on his previous volunteer experience working in soup

kitchens, he said he noticed that that there's not always enough

healthy food to give out.

"It's mostly stale bread that's three weeks old and rock hard,"

Klunder said. "Just to see all that fresh, healthy food thrown out

was a slap in the face knowing where it could be used."

When he called the store manager the next day, he was erroneously

told that laws prevented this kind of food from being donated because

of liability before he was unceremoniously disconnected.

But after doing some research, Klunder uncovered the Bill Emerson

Good Samaritan Food Donation Act of 1996, which protects donors from

liability when donating to a nonprofit organization.

Buoyed by his find, Klunder then contacted Denise Weiland, Corona

del Mar High School's community service program specialist, who

provided him with some referrals. Klunder spent the next year

soliciting donations from grocery and retail stores.

His first delivery happened early this year when he picked up a

donation from Sunflour Natural Bakery and delivered it to the Orange

Coast Interfaith Shelter in Costa Mesa.

"I felt like everything was coming into place," Klunder said.

"It's great that all these efforts did start to pay off because it

was really making a positive difference."

The organization currently counts 10 stores and one individual as

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