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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Charity and Feeding the Poor Begins at Home

Unlike newspapers that can stack up in the garage, most families are unaware of the amount of food that is wasted. It quickly disappears down the garbage disposal without a second thought. The average four-person household wastes about $600 of food each year. Meanwhile, the working poor in America as well as the homeless often struggle to find their next meal.

The US already produces enough food to feed every citizen, but so much of it is wasted. About 40% of all food produced in America is never consumed. That amounts to more than 29 million tons of food waste each year, or enough to fill the Rose Bowl every three days. Nationwide, food scraps make up 17 percent of what we send to landfills.

One non-profit organization has become creative in reducing food waste. The Food Bank of Central New York encourages member food pantries to run an “open choice” pantry, letting families pick what they need and want instead of prepacking boxes. They also run a service called “Second Helpings,” where prepared, uneaten food is frozen by restaurants and caterers — then they pick the food up and deliver it directly to homeless shelters, member soup kitchens, emergency shelters, and other places that serve hot meals to those in need. Food Bank of Central New York has a “Fresh Foods” program that picks up donated perishables daily from grocery stores and delivers them to sites where people wait hours for the chance to take home fruits and vegetables, milk, juice, etc. Finally, they work with local farmers and wherever possible to glean from their fields after the harvest what won’t be sold in order to give to people who can’t afford to buy.

Possibly looking at the problem and entertaining solutions like Food Bank of Central New York, will help inspire us to seek do the right thing with our own food supplies. Helping the poor and homeless begins with wise use of food beginning with meal planning, grocery store outings, curtailing impulse buying, effective food storage and better use of leftovers. Just like charity, we discover feeding the poor begins at home.

More on the Internet

Information provided by HIA blogger Jonathan Bloom who is writing a book on wasted food in America. Visit

1 comment:

boat donation said...

Families should be educated to become aware of the things.