Culture & Civic Life
YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles
The YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles is committed to offering dynamic, inclusive programs that enable community members of all backgrounds to reac...
In 2014, 23-year-old Robert Lee left a secure finance job at J.P. Morgan to commit himself full-time to Rescuing Leftover Cuisine (RLC), the organization he co-founded and began launching in his senior year at New York University. The son of Korean immigrants, Robert experienced food insecurity throughout his own childhood. So he was compelled to address one of the United States' most paradoxical challenges: how millions of people go hungry every day while massive quantities of quality food are simultaneously thrown away. Armed with lessons and corporate donations from his employer at J.P. Morgan and seed money he and co-founder Louisa Chen had won in a venture competition as seniors at NYU, Rescuing Leftover Cuisine was launched.
Since its founding, Rescuing Leftover Cuisine has rescued over 4 million pounds of leftover food across the country and served over 3.5 million meals to individuals experiencing homelessness and/or food insecurity. The organization offers additional services such as food waste consulting, tax credit assistance, and co-branding resources. Through this innovative and effective model, RLC pursues a world in which no food is wasted and hunger is eliminated.
In 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the United States' healthcare system and economy, RLC recognized the crisis would only exacerbate existing food insecurity. Robert and his team responded immediately, working tirelessly to divert excess food to those deeply affected by the closure of schools, widespread unemployment, and reduced employment. Further, although Rescuing Leftover Cuisine does not typically offer services in Los Angeles, in 2020 they partnered with Patrick's Roadhouse Cuisine in Santa Monica to provide fresh meals to healthcare workers and other frontline workers across the city.
COVID-19 Pandemic Emergency Response