Rescued Food Distribution at Cal State San Marcos
When you think of who is hungry in the U.S. you don’t usually picture a college student with backpack full of books standing in a bread line to get free food. Sadly this is exactly who we see at our Rescued Food Distributions near a California State University. Today an estimated 40% of students struggle with hunger in some areas. Our university students are this country’s next generation labor force and when they are struggling to feed themselves it takes away from their academic achievement. We are in a global economy and academic achievement is critical to our nation’s economic future. Having our brightest struggling to feed themselves hurts our future. Hunger hurts. Meanwhile, over 96 billion pounds of good food end up dumped into landfills each year. Doesn’t it make sense to rescue that food before it becomes waste and get it to the hungry? Feed the hungry not landfills!
From “America’s Food Stamp Student Body”….”Apart from of the obvious social consequences, food insecurity has been associated with depression, stress, poor academic performance and poor physical health, which only compounds the effort needed to advance oneself in this intensely competitive economy.”https://www.vocativ.com/02-2014/americas-food-stamp-student-body/
Our Team at Cal State San Marcos Chapter
Although we are an all volunteer teen powered organization we have been able to save over 900,000 pounds of edible food from becoming landfill waste. We promote corporate surplus food donation, advocate, do educational outreach, and distribute donated food to the hungry . We might be volunteers but we get the job done and are looking for more teens to join us.
Amazing! 1,427,038 pounds of good food rescued by our partner, North County Food Bank, last year. They are proof that a food bank can feed more hungry families and help the environment by incorporating food rescue. By accepting commercial food they are able to feed more people and divert healthy food from rotting in landfills. Grocers, farmers, and food companies can then donate their surplus or short dated food instead of dumping it in the trash. Food and the resources used to produce it are too precious to waste. We can make a difference! Saving 1,427,038 pounds from rotting in the landfill is a great start.
Our distributions are all food rescue
At North County Food Bank
North County Food Bank Truck
While I am not old enough to vote, I was able to co-sponsor legislation as part of the San Diego Hunger Advocacy Network to help financially struggling military families in California. Co-sponsoring legislation was exciting, frustrating, and ultimately inspiring process thad me constantly humming School House Rock’s “I’m Just A Bill”.
Excitement at the possibility of helping military personnel put food on the table was my first phase in this process. Several years ago my older sister filmed active military families in line for hours to get free food from charities for a student documentary. While I was only 12, that discovery set me on path to create a national charity and then four years later to a Senator’s office making a pitch for his “yes” vote to pass my “No Hunger For Heroes” Bill. My little teen non-profit partners with the heavy weights like Feeding America, San Diego Hunger Coalition, and North County Food Bank who actually treat me like part of their team and provide us amazing opportunities to make a difference. Every year we fly to Sacramento to lobby law makers on Hunger Action Day, but this time was extra special because we had legislation pending. Having worked on passing “Zero Waste” legislation previously, I was familiar with some of the aspects of turning an idea into a law, but co-sponsoring legislation is very different. That bill is your little guy and you want don’t want to see him sitting on the steps of the Capitol Building singing sadly.
The legislative process is very complicated; it generates a lot of paperwork, emails, and adults talking in acronyms. There are so many procedures and so many bills, that the very law makers who author them don’t always keep them straight. Seriously, I was in a meeting with a State Senator who didn’t remember the bill he was just asked about was one of his. One of the big hurdles for my bill was getting past the Appropriations Committee, where a few key elected leaders debate new legislation especially about cost. As our bill had a cost associated with helping active military families, who struggle put food on the table, “concessions” had to be made. Now that infuriated me, because there are certain priorities I think we need to have as a nation and making sure our troops can adequately feed their families is one of them. We ask 1% of our population to protect the other 99% of us, move them around a bunch, don’t pay them much, and then deploy them over and over again to places where they get shot at. Even in tough economic times we need to have a safety net for these Americans. While upset that my bill was trimmed, it could still help military families; especially soon to be veterans who can’t re-enlist due to the troop cut backs.
With procedure deadlines looming our little guy made it out of the Appropriations Committee and went to the Senate floor for a vote. The California Senate voted unanimously for our bill and so too did the State Assembly. The Governor signed our “No Hunger For Heroes” bill a few weeks later and our little guy finally got that shinny gold seal, fancy paper, and became law. How are laws are made is complicated, but it works. It is inspiring to think that in our country even if you aren’t old enough to vote, you can be a part of the legislative process. My experience also made me painfully aware that the hungry and the environment don’t have the big teams of high powered lobbyists. Those types of legislative issues fall to people like us. In order to ensure our government is “Of the people, for the people”, we need to get past the frustrations of politics and actively participate. Without us, law makers only need to remember the bills proposed by the guys in the expensive suits, not the ones lobbied for by a girl with braces.
Our Partner food bank rescued 2.2 million pounds of food from being dumped. Food went to help hungry kids & seniors instead of the landfill. Food banks are not only helping feed the hungry they are also helping to save the environment. Rescued food distributions are healthier than traditional non-perishable food drives. Rescued food is the short shelf life food like fresh fruits and veggies. Non-perishable food is often loaded with salt and all fiber removed to extend shelf life. So rescued food is free, a sustainable way to help feed the hungry and better for the environment. Fruits with a few brown spots are better off going to feed hungry families instead of clogging up our landfills and creating methane gas pollution.
Please check out The San Diego North County Community Services Food Bank!
Donate Don’t Dump has rescued over 860,000 pounds of food from becoming landfill waste. Surplus and short dated food going to feed hungry families instead of clogging landfills.