Food Donor Spotlight: Paris Baguette

Written by Elena Flash

Interviewee: Jungie Que – Christy 

Location: The Commons, 125 E. Martin Luther King St. 

Partner Background:  Paris Baguette, is one of Ithaca’s newer eateries. It is a large bright space with a bakery-focused menu, offering breads, pastries, cakes, sandwiches, salads and coffee.  Customers can watch the beautiful cakes being made in the display baking area and walk around the self-serve displays with a tray to select pastries and rolls from the extensive array of luscious choices. The Ithaca Paris Baquette is one franchise among over 4,000 storefronts around the globe and is owned by Joon Jung.  

How did Paris Baguette get involved with FDN?

Christy is the inspiration behind this collaboration.  This fall, during her junior year at Cornell, Christy took a class about food justice.  As part of the course work, she had the opportunity to do a field trip and chose FDN. She was impressed with FDN’s food rescue program and immediately knew where to put it to good use.  

Christy works at Paris Baguette. She often closes the bakery at night, frequently working with the owner, Joon.  Since many of the baked goods are advertised as made fresh daily, they cannot be sold the next day.  Each night Christy and Joon stood at the dumpster, lamenting the waste of perfectly good food.  So when Christy learned about FDN, she quickly decided to try to re-direct the surplus bakery products to FDN.  

Christy says the partnership was very easy to put together.  The Paris Baguette owners were delighted that the bounty of their bakery would be distributed to others in the community.  One of the corporate hallmarks of the Paris Baguette franchise is to be part of the fabric of the community, and this partnership aligns perfectly with that motto. 

And of course, FDN is always eager to on-board a new food donor.  Christy reports that the building of the partnership presented no challenges.  Every email and text was very smooth.  The volunteers are friendly and easy to work with. 

How does the collaboration work?

FDN coordinates daily pickups from Paris Baguette. Everyday, FDN food distribution partners pick up the donations and take them directly to their distribution site. Several of the partners who pick up are located within walking distance of the Commons. The current food partner recipients include: The Village at Ithaca, Tompkins County Mental Health PROS program, Sunflower Houses, Immaculate Conception pantry, Multicultural Resource Center, and St. James AME Zion Church. These high quality, freshly baked breads and pastries that would have been thrown away are distributed to community members who would not be able to afford them.  In addition, the Paris Baguette staff try to follow the FDN model of simplicity and reuse in another way.  They package the products for FDN in containers that they have on hand from things that they purchased for the store. 

 What do you enjoy about being an FDN Food Donor?

“Connection with the community.”  Christy says.  “I grew up in a large city in China where it was hard to connect, but my parents own a tea shop so talking to people is important.  I am very passionate about food and fitness and adding extra value to whatever you do.   We can’t change the whole overproduction in the food industry, but maybe we can reduce food waste one person at a time.”

The Paris Baguette – FDN partnership is a wonderful model of Christy’s message for us and exemplifies FDN’s impact in the community. Our thanks to Joon Jung and the team at Paris Baguette.