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Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Avondale

Grocery Delivery Company Caught Dumping Fresh Produce Partners With Logan Square Neighbor To Give Away Food To Those In Need

James Humay is looking for neighbors to help out with twice-weekly pickups and drop-offs to community fridges in the Humboldt Park and Ukrainian Village area.

Jim Humay partnered with Buyk on a food rescue program after learning the delivery company had been throwing out loads of fresh produce.
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LOGAN SQUARE — Fresh food that was being thrown out by a local grocery delivery company is now going to people in need thanks to the efforts of a neighbor.

James Humay launched a food rescue effort earlier this month after Block Club reported Buyk was discarding loads of fresh produce and other unopened groceries at its Logan Square warehouse, 2774 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Several neighbors expressed frustration over the practice, saying the perfectly good food could go to many Chicagoans who struggling with food insecurity. The story compelled Humay, of Ukrainian Village, to take action. He reached out to Buyk and asked if he could redistribute the food to community refrigerators in the area.

Buyk was receptive to the idea, and Humay said he is doing twice-weekly pick-ups and drop-offs. Buyk spokesman Tom Kiehn confirmed the partnership.

“This presented a good opportunity to help out the community, to solve a problem that the business had with leftover food and solve a problem the community had with not having food,” Humay said.

RELATED: Buyk Grocery Delivery Company Tosses Out Bags Of Fresh Produce In Logan Square, Irking Neighbors

Humay is a sales director for a local tech company who does community organizing in his free time. He’s a precinct committeeman in the 2nd Ward, where he lives.

Right now, Humay’s food rescue effort is a two-person operation — just him and his fiancé — but he said he’s looking for neighbors to help out with the twice-weekly pick-ups and drop-offs.

The hauls are substantial, Humay said. So far, Buyk’s had enough leftover food to fill Humay’s mini-van with everything from bread to pre-packaged meals and dairy products — “pretty much whatever they have that’s reaching their expiration,” he said.

Humay is focused on loading up three community refrigerators in the Humboldt Park and Ukrainian Village area. The refrigerators are on sidewalks and the food inside is free to the public.

Each time Humay has filled up the refrigerators, they get emptied out pretty quickly, which is reason to keep the effort going, he said.

Neighbors interested in helping can contact Humay via Facebook.

Credit: Provided
A neighbor retrieved bags of fresh produce from Buyk’s dumpster in Logan Square.

Buyk is a New York City-based startup that provides express grocery delivery by bike. Customers order food on the company’s app and a bike courier delivers the order in five to 15 minutes with no delivery fee. The company opened several stores across Chicago late last year, and plans to open 14 more by spring.

The company’s stores are not open to the public but are stocked with food from local and national vendors.

Earlier this month, the company caught heat from neighbors for tossing out “industrial-sized” garbage bags filled with apples, radishes and other fresh produce, along with still-packaged groceries like yogurt.

Asked about Buyk’s food disposal policy, CEO James Walker said his company donates unused food to local pantries and charities, but those donations don’t always work out for various reasons. Some partners only accept certain types of food, for example, Walker said in an emailed statement.

On Humay’s effort, Walker said Buyk “is pleased to work with members of the community to continually reduce food waste.”

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