There is a silent national tragedy that occurs daily throughout the country. It is food that is never eaten.
Feeding America says 70 billion pounds of food are wasted each year. At the same time over 49 million Americans live in hunger.
The solution to this frustrating problem is closer than you think. Recently, I had the opportunity to help a small Ohio farm who was determined not to let its surplus of corn go to waste.
A mix of hot weather and earlier rains left Burwinkel Farms of Ross, Ohio with far more corn than usual. Such a nutritious food like corn must not be left to rot in the field, especially when there are people in need.
Luckily Burwinkels acted quickly and was able to connect with St. Vincent de Paul, a charity fighting hunger in Cincinnati. Over 10,000 ears of corn were donated within days.
Food waste was prevented. And a charity got help during the summer, when it’s needed most.
Larry Shields, spokesperson for St. Vincent de Paul, explains, “Summer is a challenging time, we see more families struggling to feed children who are out of school. At the same time, our donations decrease.
Nutritious food makes a world of difference for anyone. St. Vincent de Paul distributed the corn throughout its pantries in Cincinnati.
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Burwinkels also donates left over produce weekly to a food pantry in Price Hill. Again, the right connections were made to prevent food waste.
Feeding America has a team of “producer procurers” throughout the country that try to prevent food waste. They reach out to companies and stores to rescue food. There are also organizations like Campus Kitchens and Food Recovery Network that do so as well.
But more help is needed. That is where you come in.
Look at your own community. Talk to stores or farms about what they do to prevent food waste. Help them connect to a local food bank. And do your best at home or when eating at a restaurant.
Every time food is saved, money is saved too.
Hunger exists in America and worldwide. But we can feed many hungry people through more effort and collaboration. It can start right in your own community by preventing food waste.
• William Lambers partnered with the UN World Food Programme on the book, Ending World Hunger. He is member of the Feeding America Blogger Council. Comments: www.williamlambers.com