1.3 billion tons of food is wasted every single year, that is one third of all the food produced. Yet at the same time, over half of our population doesn’t have enough to eat.
Sunday night, I had the pleasure of attending a benefit dinner for Make-a-Wish, which raised $15,000 to grant a wish for a child here in New Hampshire! Although still an extremely successful fundraiser, many people backed out last minute but unfortunately the event was unable to be postponed.
The idea of so many meals being wasted was very upsetting to me, so I asked to speak with the event manager to see what we could do. I explained my concern, and asked if I could take all the leftovers from the evening and donate them in the morning. Even after explaining the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, a federal statute that protects restaurants from all liability when they donate their extra food to charities, I was told there was nothing they could do, “house rules”.
Disney World, Olive Garden, and Long Horn are among the few restaurants who take advantage of this protection to feed the millions of Americans who struggle everyday finding enough to eat, while so many others contribute to the mass food production and waste everyday. I almost gave up and admitted there was nothing left I could do…keyword: almost.
The next morning, I woke up still thinking about all those meals going to waste. These dinners could be used in SO many amazing ways. One phone call changed everything, and after finally getting in touch with the owner of the Atkinson Country Club, I met with chefs, managers, and other employees as we stuffed my mom’s car full of food. Not only those left overs from the night before, but meals from other events. There were full course dinners, lunches, even desserts!
Our next stop of the day was at the Anne Marie House in Hudson, where we dropped off over a weeks worth of meals for the 21 children and their 10 families who reside there. The Anne Marie House is a transitional home for local families dealing with temporary homelessness for any given reason. Families can stay for up to a year, and while they are there they work hard to get back on their feet, whatever that means for them. Whether it is rebuilding credit scores, going back to school, or receiving mental health treatment, the Anne Marie House transforms futures for over 600 families annually.
I am so grateful that the Atkinson Country Club was able to get together so much food in such a short amount of time to make a great donation to the Anne Marie House. Although it was a rough start, the company really came through at the end, and all that matters is that we are yet another step closer to ending hunger. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a million more times, tackling food insecurity is going to take some serious team work. I look forward to continuing this hard earned success and educating more of our state’s amazing local businesses about the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act to grow this new initiative. When over half of the people we share this planet with don’t have enough to eat, it is unacceptable for one third of our food to go to waste and that can no longer slide.
Because I will never lose hope for what I believe in- a hunger free world, I will do whatever it takes to get us there and I will refuse to let anything stand in my way. I might be stubborn when it comes to this stuff, but in the end it really was a win-win! No food was wasted, AND nearly 30 people have a weeks worth of food that they didn’t have two days ago. That is success to me.