According to FDA estimates, the United States wastes 30 to 40% of its food. That’s hard to swallow when you consider that one in 10 US households faced food insecurity in 2018.
That means roughly 14 million families are struggling to put meals on the table while approximately 30 million tons of food are trashed.
So NGOs and nonprofits are tackling the problems of food waste and food insecurity by launching food-rescue programs. And you can help, too.
Rescuing 41 million pounds of food a year
For 29 years Forgotten Harvest, a nonprofit in Detroit, has been rescuing food destined for landfills and redirecting it to the hungry.
Forgotten Harvest CEO Kirk Mayes says it’s taken that long to develop the logistics for his program, which now rescues and delivers 130,000 pounds of food a day.
“This operation is set up so that our fleet of about 27 trucks and our drivers can leave our warehouse in the morning and go to about 12 to 14 different stops … for our donations.” Mayes says. Drivers collect food from local bakers and butchers and national chains, he says. “And then these drivers redistribute the food to three to four community partners on a daily basis.”
A rotating army of 16,000 volunteers makes this daily event happen.
“At our warehouse, our volunteers are working with commodities that are coming off of our farm and from other commodity partners like the food manufacturers and other farms and donations,” Mayes says. “All this (food) is inspected, sorted and set to go out.”
The result? Last year Forgotten Harvest redistributed 41 million pounds of food, Mayes says. That’s 41 million pounds that filled stomachs instead of landfills.
“We see a lot of work in front of us, with what is one in six people vulnerable for food insecurity in southeast Michigan,” he says. “We’re all working towards our one mission – to make sure that we can rescue as much food as possible and get it into the hands of people in need.”
How you can help
They are also providing tips and guides for people to