SAULT STE. MARIE -- United Way's Harvest Algoma is thanking three volunteer chefs for helping it reach a big milestone.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the team of Dan Gauthier, Samantha Gauthier and Will Hurley have been volunteering at the food resource centre, helping it surpass 500,000 pounds of rescued food.

"Without their help, I'm not sure where we'd be," said manager Jessica Laidley. "Their knowledge, their skill, their abilities, it just made things three times faster than if someone like me jumped behind there and cooked."

United Way opened the centre in July of 2018. But Laidley said 70 per cent of the food it has processed since then was from March to mid-May of this year.

"That's directly because of their help," she said.

Since the chefs started working at the site, Harvest Algoma says it has been able to make more than 1,000 meals for the community.

"The demand remains high, even though food shipments are slowing down now at this point," she said. "We want to continue working with them and some of our other volunteers to keep this up."