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  • Writer's pictureRosa Hernandez

Feeding People With Rachel Monti

Updated: Jul 2

It was 103 out when I met Rachel Monti on a little residential street for a site visit.

Rachel Monti has been a board member at Waste Not for a couple of years now and is currently the Board Secretary.

Rachel and I met at Maggie’s Place in Phoenix last Tuesday to help out a regularly scheduled delivery of food. Maggie’s Place is a 501(c)3 organization committed to serving mothers. Through family-style houses, Maggie’s Place offers a space for moms to receive safe housing, counseling, parenting classes, educational programming, and more.

When I arrived at the site at 11am, the sun was already in full force and you could feel the heat rising up from the pavement. Rachel and Keith (a new professional driver for Waste Not) were chatting together under a small spot of shade beside our truck. 

Waste Not Truck Parked in Driveway
Waste Not Truck

Rachel is always appreciative of our drivers. Coming from a background of transportation, she knows how vital it is to have a core group of skilled professional drivers so we can do what we do, and do it well.

Originally from Alabama, Rachel has been an Arizonan for 26 years - 24 of which have been spent working for Swift Transportation. 

“I serve as the Senior VP of Human Resources for Swift Transportation,” says Rachel. “I’ve been with Swift my entire career. While I was in school getting my masters in counseling, I was working at Swift. I saw a lot of similarities between my education and the role I was in and have been working to grow and expand the function of HR at Swift since then.”

As Keith backed the truck into the driveway of Maggie’s Place, Rachel and I met Sophie - a SummerCorps member and we ran into Stephanie Garippa, Director of Americorps for Maggie’s Place. 

Sophie and Rachel talking in front of Waste Not truck
Sophie (left) and Rachel (right)

Together, we worked to bring box after box of food inside. From apples and bananas to bread and dairy product, we made sure Maggie’s Place received what they needed for their moms. 

After about 20 minutes of lifting and transporting food inside, we were done with the delivery and Keith was on his way to his next stop. Stephanie then took Rachel and I on a little tour of the house. 

Along the way, Rachel told us more about how she got involved with Waste Not and why.

She grew up in a family that often involved her and her sister in community service - primarily food kitchens that served hungry people. Rachel got an up close and personal view of the imbalance between a need for nutrition and food availability, and how pervasive it can be.

Rachel carrying a banana box while Keith, Stephanie, and Sophie look at food in another box.
From Left to Right: Stephanie, Keith, Sophie, Rachel

After being in Arizona for many years, she met Linde Harned (another fellow HR professional) who has been on the board of Waste Not for many years. Linde introduced Rachel to Christina Dicksen (former Chair of Waste Not) who helped Rachel understand how compelling Waste Not’s mission is and what food rescue is all about.

“Waste Not is unique,” says Rachel. “It’s different from literally any other group I’ve come across. It works in a way to find the surplus and match it to the need rather than acting as a staging area for distribution.”

When I asked Rachel what she thought Waste Not needed to keep going to service agencies like Maggie’s Place, she said food donors. She would love to see more food donors to help more agencies, feed more people, and expand our footprint in Arizona. And eventually, for us to become a model for other communities in the U.S. that would benefit from their own Waste Not.

Rachel carrying a box of food for Maggie's Place
Rachel carrying a box of food for Maggie's Place

After our tour, Rachel and I sat down to talk a little more about her experience at Maggie’s Place.

“It’s been amazing,” says Rachel. “You look at Maggie’s Place and what they do for mothers - their holistic service and transformation in someone’s life, it’s just wonderful to know they provide services across multiple houses and that Waste Not is an integral piece to it all. “

To support our work with feeding people in the Arizona, click here to make a one-time donation. And if you want to go beyond today, consider joining our circle of monthly supporters - $20 a month provides 100 meals to those in need.

Swift Transportation has been a long-time sponsor of our annual Empty Bowls event that is held in October to which we are very grateful for their generosity.

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