CLEARWATER, Fla. – A mother and son are serving up a fresh idea. They are bringing meals into needy communities by using food that would have gone to waste.
Cameron and his mother Ellen Macleish’s meals are a big hit at the Martin Luther King Jr. Neighborhood Center in Clearwater. Their non-profit “360 Eats” is giving away free meals from their “Sustain-A-Bowl” food truck.
“I want to feed people beautiful, nutritious, healthy food, beautifully prepared with dignity and nutrition,” said Ellen, the chef for 360 Eats.
She was able to start cooking those meals on site after she got a state-of-the-art truck. It cost $40,000 and was paid for by the Community Foundation Tampa Bay, a collective group of philanthropists that invests in organizations making a positive impact in their community.
“360 Eats is making a difference, and that’s what we want to invest our funding in,” said Katie Shultz with Community Foundation Tampa Bay. “That’s what our donors want to invest in. They want to invest in something that is changing the lives of individuals in our community.”
It’s a difference they have been cooking up since 2019. They’ve served more than 20,000 meals throughout Pinellas County.
“It’s estimated about 1.3 million people in the Greater Tampa Bay area are currently food insecure,” Cameron Macleish, the executive director for 360 Eats. “It’s proof of a broken food system. Something needs to be done about it. And so that’s why we’re out here, is we’re creating a just and sustainable food system that’s free from hunger and food waste.”
They go to local grocery stores, restaurants, food disturbers and collect food that would otherwise be thrown away.
“The minute that we receive food as a donation, we then process it into nutritious gourmet meals, high quality meals, chef prepared meals for those who are facing food insecurity,” Cameron said.
For more information, visit 360eats.org.