01:11 - Source: CNN
From waste to plate: Feeding New York's hungry

Story highlights

1 in 7 Americans struggle with hunger

A recent report by the UNEP and the World Resources Institute estimates 30-40% of the country's food supply is wasted

New York CNN —  

One in seven people in America face hunger. At the same time, a recent report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Resources Institute estimates 30-40% of the country’s food supply is wasted. That’s the equivalent of 20 pounds of food per person a month.

Food rescue is one way this can be improved. Food rescue is the process of recovering good excess food and redistributing it to those in need. For more than 30 years New York based nonprofit, City Harvest, has been recovering good excess food and giving it out the to the city’s hungry. Since inception they’ve collected 500 million pounds of food, from thousands of donors.

“City harvest’s mobile market program was designed to give out as much fresh produce as we can to very high need neighborhoods,” said McLean.

“Every month we have 18 mobile markets,” said Jennifer McLean, Chief Operating Officer of City Harvest. “There are typically 500 families waiting in line to get this fresh produce.”

Those markets can feature anything from fruits and vegetables to meat and dairy. In addition, City Harvest regularly delivers food to 500 local soup kitchens and pantries across the Burroughs of New York City.

One volunteer Barbara Womack, has taken her role even further. Womack single-handedly delivers food to dozens of elderly neighbors who can’t get out of their apartments to the markets.

“I thought it was my job to go and see who needs help,” said Womack. “I’m really grateful that City Harvest is in this community.”

City Harvest is taking a two pronged approach to tackle hunger. Outside of the mobile markets and soup kitchen deliveries, the organization also has developed a program called “Healthy Neighborhoods” which works with residents in low income communities to provide nutrition education.

“When you think about the long term effects of hunger we work to make sure people have nutrition education, advice and the ability to stretch their dollar so they can actually make smart choices so they have sustainability in the long term,” said McLean.