Tag Archives: Feeding America

Waste Not, Want Not–The Benefits of Food Rescue Organizations

While many of us come home after work, plop down on our leather couches and turn on our 72-inch flat-screen TVs, there are thousands of Americans sitting on concrete sidewalks, shivering as they nuzzle their chins further into their old, dirty jackets.  While we laugh along to the laugh track on 2 and a Half Men, their eyes tear as the wind blows sharply across their face and sends chills down their backs.  And after we eat half of the large pizza and order of breadsticks we ordered from Domino’s Pizza, we shrug as we throw the rest in the trash can.  “It’ll just get old,” we tell one another.  “No one wants the leftovers.”  Rarely do we think of the people on the other side of town in that moment, the people rummaging through the Italian restaurant’s dumpster.  Looking for that night’s leftovers.  Anything that will fill their bellies—a breadstick, a piece of pizza, anything.

A New Low

According to USAToday.com, a record number of 44 million people are enrolled in the governments’ Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.  Many Americans recognize the program as our country’s food stamp program, which is federally funded, but administered by the states.

Stepping in and assisting are food banks, soup kitchens, and food rescue organizations.  According to Wikipedia, a food rescue is “…the practice of safely retrieving edible food that would otherwise go to waste, and distributing it to those in need.”  Often, food at farms, restaurants, farmers markets, or grocery stores is edible but not saleable, (perhaps it’s past its “sell by” date, for example); other times, the food is perfect to eat, but the restaurant bought too much of it, or has scraps of meat or fish from a byproduct of a dish made.  This is when a food rescue comes into the equation, saving it from a dumpster (when it comes from a restaurant), or saving it from being plowed under (when coming from a farm).  When food is saved from a farm, it is called “gleaning”, which essentially means gathering crops that would traditionally rot or be plowed under after harvest.  The Society of St. Andrew, (or SoSA) which began in 1979, is the largest gleaning network in the nation, averaging about 30,000 volunteers each year to contribute and glean over 18 million pounds of food. This food goes straight to those in need within 48 hours of picking, according to the Society of St. Andrews’ website.  SoSA works with many different charities as well, such as Feeding America, and not only focuses on hunger in the United States, but across the world.  The impact of this food rescue, started over thirty years ago, has been phenomenal.

How Hunger is Affected in Indianapolis

The impact of hunger in Indianapolis is astounding; while many think that this is a problem that only big cities have, such as New York City and Los Angeles, the economy has hit Indiana hard and its impact on its residents has affected many.  Luckily, Indianapolis has two large food rescues that are doing a great job of recruiting volunteers to collect, package, and distribute the food to our city’s less fortunate.  Food Rescue and Second Helpings are both Indianapolis-based food rescues, relying on volunteers each day to help pick up food from various locations around the city, help in the kitchen, and deliver to places around the city as well. At Second Helpings, they actually have a culinary class, where they train volunteers who are interested in learning how to cook and want to be more involved in volunteering.  The class is free, so they also train some of those who are less fortunate, creating chefs out of those whose dreams may have been lost for a period of time.  But with this chance, that dream may be back.

Join us next time on our blog, as we continue with our post on the benefits of teaming up with food rescue organizations…


Central’s Week in Brief: September 9, 2011

restaurantEvery Friday Central brings you stories from the week that you might have missed, but that are definitely worth a look. We’ll feature food news covering everything from the weird to the wonderful in the world of restaurants, schools, the military and more.  It’s our way to help you go into the weekend with a little extra knowledge and maybe even a project or recipe to try out!

1)      Zagat, the worldwide restaurant guide, has had a pretty big week.  First, they released their annual National Fast Food Restaurant Survey which covered 103 different chains.  The 6,064 diners surveyed named Subway as the top Mega Chain, Five Guys as best Large Chain and Starbucks as the number one Quick Refreshment.   Click here for a more comprehensive list of the survey results. 

After releasing the survey, it was then announced that the company was being bought out by web giant Google.  Zagat founders, Nina and Tim Zagat, plan to stay on to help with the guide’s expansion and  assist Google in connecting more easily with local businesses.

2)      Like Google, Dominos Pizza is also looking to expand its reach…all the way to the moon.  The Japanese arm of the pizza chain announced that they are planning to build a base on the moon which will cost about $21 billion for construction, transportation and equipment.  The goal of the base is to be available for those who may one day be working and eventually living on the moon.   However, there is no actual date for when the project will begin.

3)      With a rise in popularity, ultimately there will be a backlash.  The current food truck trend is no exception to this rule.  Food trucks all over the country have been running into regulations and lawsuits over everything from proximity to tax issues.  This is where Bert Gall comes in to save the day.  According to the Wall Street Journal, “A senior attorney at the Institute for Justice, Gall directs the institute’s National Street Vending Initiative, which bills itself as ‘a nationwide effort to vindicate the right of street vendors to earn an honest living by fighting unconstitutional vending restrictions in courts of law and the court of public opinion’.”  So if your food truck is in trouble, Bert Gall is the man to have on your side.

4)      This month is the 17th Annual National Food Safety Education Month (NFSEM).  NFSEM encourages a focus on food safety education and training within the foodservice industry.  This year, there will be free weekly training sessions, tips and downloads all available at www.ServSafe.com/nfsem.   According to the NRA Show site, “All NFSEM materials are based on the National Restaurant Association’s ServSafe® food safety training and certification program.”

5)      September is also Hunger Action Month which was launched by Feeding America.  The point of Hunger Action Month is to raise awareness of hunger relief throughout the world and encourage the public to step into action to eliminate it domestically.   By visiting the Hunger Action Month site, you can find local events and food banks, see where the highest rate of hunger is in your state and even watch videos like the one below.