About one-third of all food produced for human consumption goes to waste. Between consumers, manufacturers, grocery stores and restaurants, approximately 72 billion pounds of food is wasted each year that could be feeding a family facing hunger.
Various organizations partner with non-profits in order to do what they can to make a difference. Last year, the Feeding America Network rescued 3.3 billion pounds of food. With a network of 200 food banks and over 60,000 food agencies across the country, Feeding America works to rescue and repurpose the surplus of food that would otherwise be rotting in a landfill.
Uneaten food that sits in landfills across the country account for almost 25 percent of the United States’ methane emissions; methane is a greenhouse gas that is 21 times more harmfulto our environment than carbon dioxide! Greenhouse gases have a profound effect on global warming, which is why it is so important to cut our emissions as much as possible.
Each year, $218 billion worth of food is thrown away. Organizations like Starbucks are taking a stand to help end hunger by partnering with the Feeding America Network. A long-term employee of a Starbucks chain in California realized the difference that could be made in donating unsold food at the end of the day. This partnership allowed for a driver to pick up the extra food nightly from Starbucks locations and deliver it to struggling communities.
To help more communities suffering from hunger, Feeding America created MealConnect, which is a technology platform that helps link donors with extra food to local food banks and their partners. This platform makes it easier to donate and easier to keep track of donations. In addition, MealConnect helps more organizations make donations that may not be able to have a consistent partnership with Feeding America the way that Starbucks does.
The United States is the number one country in the world that wastes food. With only 3 percent of food scraps composted, we are wasting an incredible amount that could be going to people in need. There are so many steps our communities could be taking in order to prevent food waste. What can you do to help?
- Volunteer!There are more than 60,000 agencies that distribute food to the hungry every year. Food banks and local agencies that support hungry families are looking for volunteers all year round, not just the holidays!
- Limit Your Energy Use.When energy costs go up, so do food prices! This makes it harder for struggling families to pay higher prices.
- Be Less Wasteful. Cook in smaller portions and eat your leftovers- don’t throw away food!
- Donate. Consider making annual donations, whether it be canned goods or cash donations, any little bit helps!
If you want to donate but don’t know how you can help, check out Play for Free Rice, which is an online multiple-choice trivia game that helps feed the world’s hungry. For each answer that you get correct, game sponsors will donate 10 grains of rice for distribution around the world. Created in 2007, this is a great way for people that may not have the means to donate money or their own food to help. Learn more here: http://freerice.com