Become a Food Rescuer!

Having been born and raised in Iowa I have grown up and still live surrounded by the ways and means of feeding people. A summer or fall drive in the country here will engulf you in oceans of corn and beans, dotted with islands of livestock pasture. To live the majority of the year surrounded by such bounty might give one the false assumption that we don’t give thought to much beyond producing food. From the education of George Washington Carver to Herbert Hoover’s food relief efforts and the many agricultural contributions of the Wallace family to Norman Borlaug saving an estimated one billion people through better food production methods, Iowa and Iowans are historically linked to both feeding others and showing them how to do it themselves.

So What’s The Problem?

With all of the effort and progress this state has made with increasing food production and spreading agricultural education around the world what happens when we have too much to consume? Imagine massive amounts of good food going to landfills while food pantries and homeless shelters are left wanting. Picture restaurants and supermarkets throwing away food at the end of the day while people go to bed hungry. This nightmare is a reality.

So What’s The Solution?

While there have always been hungry people and have always been wasteful people there is a solution that can solve the problem just by brokering between the two: food rescue.

A few years ago my wife and I decided to switch our charitable giving to a ministry that oversees several homeless shelters and pantries. Our decision was based on wanting to help people with the basics; food, water and shelter. Food rescue is a vital method of providing people in need with food that would otherwise go to the landfill.

Okay, So What The Heck Is Food Rescue?

To quote the California Food Scrap Management website food rescue programs “take excess perishable and prepared food and distribute it to agencies that serve hungry people. Agencies served by food banks and rescue programs include community centers, soup kitchens, food pantries, shelters, senior programs, and childcare centers.” Donors can include “large manufacturers, supermarket chains, wholesalers, farmers, food brokers, and organized community food drives. Perishable and prepared foods are typically collected from restaurants, caterers, corporate dining rooms, hotels, and other food establishments for prompt distribution to hungry people in their communities.”

That’s Great, But What Can I Do?

First off, donate any excess from your pantry to a local food bank.

Consider a monetary donation to your food bank.

Spread the word. Ask grocery store and restaurant managers if they participate in a food rescue program. Tell your local elected officials about food rescue.

Volunteer at a food band or with a food rescue program.

Visit the following sites for more information on how food rescue works and what you can do to help.

Wasted Food

Food Rescue

Feeding America

While we might not all be able to achieve what the great people mentioned above did, we can make our own small contributions to cutting waste and helping to feed the hungry.

Further Reading:

Giving to Charities

Help End World Hunger

Food Banks, Pantries and Soup Kitchens: How to Find Food in Times of Need

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