Community Plates

The Pitch

Community Plates is dedicated towards ending food insecurity in New Orleans by using technology and a volunteer platform to rescue and directly-transfer nutritious fresh food.

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Melissa Spiesman, Lauren Rudzis, Kevin Mullins,  and Jeff Schacher

Melissa Spiesman, Lauren Rudzis, Kevin Mullins, and Jeff Schacher

The Entrepreneur

Melissa Spiesman, National Site Director
Melissa Spiesman is the National Site Director for Community Plates. She says that being in the kitchen is therapeutic for her (and way cheaper than actual therapy). She likes good food, and she especially likes to share good food with good people, which is one of the reasons why she initially fell in love with Community Plates. Melissa has a background in both hospitality and nutrition, and her involvement in CP brings out the best of both. She is especially drawn to the real impact she can have in ending U.S. food-insecurity through the Community Plates platform.

Lauren Rudzis, New Orleans Local Site Director
After graduating from LSU, Lauren joined the Peace Corps in 2011. She spent her time working in Cambodia as a Community Health Agent.Upon returning to the US, Lauren found her home here in New Orleans and is anxious to launch Community Plates’ innovative solution to end hunger in the Crescent City and mobilize the greatest community in the south. Who Dat!

Kevin Mullins, Executive Director
Kevin started rock bands and pastored churches in various parts of the country before helping found Community Plates in 2011. He is a professional musician, loves public speaking and leadership and working with and helping people more than anything. He was inspired on his journey to becoming consumed with American hunger by his children, who joined with their friends at school, pooling their lunches to send home food for dinner for other friends in need.

Jeff Schacher, Founder
Jeff is the founder and CEO of WhenToManage, a cloud-based enterprise application platform for restaurants and retail. Jeff started in NYC as a failed Broadway actor by day and a semi-successful waiter at night. He left restaurants during the first dot-com craze and joined the IT department at a media company. After many years designing and building enterprise software, he decided to bring his new love of business & technology back to the restaurant industry and started WhenToManage. Today, WhenToManage is used by hundreds of restaurant companies large and small.


In New Orleans, about 20% of adults and 25% of children are classified as food insecure. In a city known for its love of food and abundance of restaurants and markets, there’s a real opportunity to redirect excess fresh food from landfills to those who need it most.


  • 15,000 fresh meals delivered to those in need and saved from waste

• Contributing food donors and receiving agencies include: Good Eggs, St. Roch Market, Dinner Lab, Revolution Foods, Tulane’s Center for Public Service, New Orleans Mission, Covenant House, and more.

  • Almost 10,000 pound of food redirected from landfills
  • 58 volunteers engaged in direct transfer from donor to community receiving agency
  • $3000 raised in funds


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