No Cape Required: How Food Rescue Programs Save Food From Dumpsters To Feed The Hungry

We’ve all done it. We heap our plates with food when our eyes are bigger than our stomachs, eat half of the plate and toss the rest. Restaurants do it. The chefs produce more food than what customers eat and at the end of the night, the food is tossed into the nearest dumpster. A global effort to reduce waste is hoping to change this practice and to create mindfulness of the value of food recovery.

Food recovery, also known as food rescue, is the process of distributing food that normally goes to waste to local shelters, the homeless and families in need, according to Wasted Food. Agencies match donors, such as restaurants, supermarkets and farms with perishable food, to shelters and individuals in need of food. Volunteers transport the food on demand and ensure that food is refrigerated or frozen to keep its freshness.

Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) via flickr

Leftovers and excess food is often recoverable. For example, grocery stores are restricted to selling perishable items by a “sell-by” date; however, this almost-past-prime food is often edible for a few more days. Organizations partner with donors to ensure they are not throwing out edible remains, effectively giving food one more chance to be consumed.

This practice is possible thanks to the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act that offers tax benefits for U.S. businesses willing to donate excess food. France has taken their efforts one step further with a newly established law that restricts supermarkets from destroying food that has not been sold, according to The Atlantic.

Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week via Facebook
Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week via Facebook

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Hunger is a rampant problem worldwide. Many of our friends, family members and colleagues may be suffering from a lack of food even though it may not be evident to others. Children are undernourished and food recovery could be a viable solution to feeding the hungry. You, too, can help with these efforts by supporting The Hunger Site.

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