Luke Weaver goes extra 'Last Mile' to help community

May 24th, 2023

Cincinnati Reds pitcher partnered with local nonprofit Last Mile Food Rescue on Tuesday to help feed the community and ensure no Great American Ball Park food went to waste. 

Last Mile Food Rescue (LMFR) uses volunteers and a mobile app to rescue quality fresh food throughout Greater Cincinnati. Businesses notify Last Mile when they have food that they no longer have a need for. Volunteers registered on the app then receive a notification and are able to pick up the food to donate to nearby locations.

One of those volunteers was Weaver. Using the app, the Reds starter was able to easily pick up leftover fresh food from Monday night’s game against the Cardinals and bring it to Last Mile’s Mobile Market in Avondale, one of the many nonprofit agencies Last Mile utilizes. There, Last Mile offers free groceries twice a week to those living in Avondale. Community members are welcome to stop by and get groceries for their families.

Last Mile brings attention to the important issue of food insecurity.

“Not enough people understand how many people in our community are food insecure,” LMFR co-founder Julie Shifman said.

“Last Mile brings a lot of momentum, support and love to the community,” said Weaver, who encourages everyone to “get to work” and do their part to help the community.

Weaver himself is no stranger to giving back to the community, volunteering with many organizations including Striking Out Poverty and the Phoenix Rescue Mission during his time in MLB.

“I want to make sure I am staying humble and understanding the greater purpose to give back to others and supply love and grace to people’s lives. It is a big part of my life,” Weaver said.

Helping the Cincinnati community that brings so much support to the Reds is an important goal for both the Reds and Weaver. Great American Ball Park executive chef Gary Davis and his staff have made donating leftover perishables and food a growing initiative over the past couple of years.

“Last Mile does a great job taking our food directly to a source ... immediately you know the food is making an impact in our communities,” he said.

And making an impact it is. Since opening in 2019, Last Mile has kept more than 5 million pounds of food from going to waste. Since May 2021, the Reds have teamed up with Last Mile to donate fresh ballpark food. In that time, Great American Ball Park and concessionaire Delaware North have donated more than 32,000 pounds of quality food to nearby nonprofit agencies.

Tackling food insecurity is a daunting task. But thanks to partnerships with organizations like the Cincinnati Reds and volunteers like Weaver, LMFR is helping make sure everyone in Cincinnati is fed.