Did you know that one in seven people suffer from food insecurity in the U.S.? At the same time, the USDA estimates 30 to 40 percent of the country’s food supply ends up as waste.
Donating recovered food to a local food bank diverts waste and helps feed the hungry. A food bank gathers and sorts food, and then distributes the inventory to individual food pantries throughout the area. The food pantries then directly serve their communities. Some food pantries will also accept donations directly.
If you want to make a big impact, consider starting a gleaning program in your community. Gleaning is the process of collecting excess fresh food from farms, grocers, restaurants and any other sources to provide the food to those in need.
If you’re concerned about the legality of donating food, check out the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act. It protects food donors from liability if they take the necessary precautions to ensure food safety.
Not sure what to say when approaching local businesses? Give this letter a try.
- Visit FeedingAmerica.com to find your local food bank. To search for a food pantry nearby, and to find out what donations you can make directly, click here.
- Check out the USDA’s step-by-step guide to gleaning.
- Are you on a college campus? Check out Food Recovery Network, an organization that works to recover perishable food from college campuses and their surrounding communities to donate it to those in need.
- If you’re with a business, consider joining the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Food Recovery Challenge or becoming a product partner with Feeding America, both of which help participants prevent and divert wasted food in their operations.