Community Partnership Spotlight: Rolling Tomato

When Julie D’Agostino moved to the Treasure Valley in 2016, she wanted to make herself useful. While learning her way around her new city and neighborhood, she noticed a need for a program that could connect businesses with excess food with nonprofit organizations that could use it to serve the community. The result was Rolling Tomato.

“I volunteered in another state doing food recovery and I saw the value in it,” she said. “I did a little research and decided to start it up here as a pilot.” 

The goal of Rolling Tomato is to recover “perfectly good excess food from corporate kitchens and deliver it quickly and safely to local nonprofits for the people they serve,” she said. The organization helps feed the hungry while also keeping $360,000 worth of food (180,000 pounds) out of the landfill annually.

D’Agostino’s first food donor was downtown Boise’s JUMP, where she would pick up excess food left over from events. Soon she also had connected with the Boise Farmer’s Market, where she got “incredibly fresh” produce every Saturday. Since then, her team has picked up a number of other clients, including St. Luke’s Health, Boise Co-Op, Charlie’s Produce, Acme Bake Shop and restaurants like Olive Garden, Starbucks, and KFC.

With the help of a group of dedicated volunteers, she funnels donated food to organizations that serve veterans, seniors, children, and families.

Nampa School District joined her list of beneficiaries after she learned the city, which contains a large “food desert” area, could really use more produce for pantries and resource centers. St. Luke’s helped Julie connect with 10 sites in Canyon County, including several schools. The Nampa School District’s Family and Community Resource Centers are now able to offer a variety of delicious food items to students and families in need.

Rolling Tomato has redistributed approximately 416,000 pounds of food since its inception. This translates to almost 350,000 individual meals.

Why it Matters

Enrique Munoz, Family and Community Resource Center coordinator, shared the impact donations like those from Rolling Tomato have on families.

There is a family comprised of a grandmother, mother, and child that regularly visits my center seeking assistance with food and clothing. They always express deep gratitude for the support that they receive. The grandmother often shares stories of her past life in Cuba, recounting the beautiful beaches, her favorite dishes to cook, and the Cuban music she enjoys listening to. Once, she even brought me a homemade dish, a variation of Arroz con Leche, which was delightful. This family is mindful and considerate, never taking more than they need and always conscious of the resources available for other families. The addition of fresh vegetables and other foods from Rolling Tomato has been fantastic, as it allows us to offer more diverse meal options to families.

A teacher recently confided in me about the profound impact our center has on her new students. She emphasized that having essentials like a backpack, a sweater, and some food can completely transform the experience for students arriving with nothing. She expressed how daunting it is for these students to come to school and realize everyone else has school supplies, snacks, and nice apparel while they don’t. Providing these necessities not only makes them more comfortable but also helps them blend in with their peers, which is essential for their sense of belonging and success as they start school. The addition of Rolling Tomato has expanded our capacity to provide food to these students, offering a broader selection for both our students and their families. This partnership ensures that when they inform others about the availability of food at their school, there's a wider variety of options to share.

How to Help

Rolling Tomato utilizes volunteers who use their own vehicles to transport food. They also are in search of a larger delivery vehicle for big food donations. To learn more, visit