Hunger hurts year round, but during the holidays it is especially painful. Images of lavish holiday meals and treats splashed across every screen only add to the hunger pains. Our organization partners with food banks, growers, community organizations, and schools to get nutritious short dated food diverted to the hungry while it is still good. Grocers only sell blemish free perfect fruit that isn’t ripe yet. Ripe produce, the fruit with a couple brown spots, a funny shape, or grade B size is still delicious and nutritious. It is shameful to dump good food into commercial dumpsters when one in five kids in the U.S. go hungry especially during the holidays. We can change this. Let’s feed the hungry not landfills!
Posts tagged ‘hunger’
We think a few brown spots on fruits and veggies are beautiful. Grocers and growers often dump imperfect produce due to minor flaws in appearance. We rescue that food and distribute it to the hungry. This helps alleviate hunger and the environment.
Five years ago I was shocked to discover active military families lined up for hours to get food from charity in San Diego. That was the first time I became aware of who the new face of hunger is and the staggering statistics about food insecurity. One in five Americans don’t know where their next meal is coming from, yet 96 billion pounds of good food rot in landfills annually. I found it outrageous that precious resources, like food, are needlessly wasted, filling dumpsters and producing methane gas pollution, thus hurting our environment. Since I was 12, I have been working to change the paradigm of needless commercial food waste and, in the process, it has shaped who I am. Having a good idea isn’t enough, it’s more about creating collaborations, inspiration, empowerment, and having a tenacious attitude in overcoming obstacles. I’ve learned so much about hunger, the environment, and that young people really can make a difference. Teens care about helping the environment and the hungry, but both issues can seem overwhelmingly large and insurmountable. One of my greatest motivations for Donate Don’t Dump was to provide an easy way for young people to get involved and help shape the future we will inherit. From elementary schools to universities, we create opportunities for young people to get involved. We create ripples of change that I hope will become a tidal wave similar to the recycling movement and in the process alleviate hunger and help the environment. We need your help! Please consider getting involved to make change happen. Contact us for more information. You can make a difference at any age.
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.
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.