how much food do we waste?

19 05 2008

I recently wrote on the world’s most serious problem, that there are hundreds of millions of people who don’t have enough food to eat.  I don’t think most of us in America can even grasp the concept of not having enough food.  Even in my poorest days during college, I could eat, even if it had to be ramen noodles sometimes.

I heard in the news today that the average American wastes one pound of food per day.  That’s including food thrown out from meals at home, from restaurants, and from grocery stores.  I didn’t find that article online during a quick search, but I found another site with similar statistics.

One pound of food is a lot per day!  If it doesn’t sound like that much, consider how that adds up across the nation: 263,013,699 pounds of food wasted each day in this country.  That is every day.  Over a whole year, it adds up to over 96 billion pounds of food wasted.  These statistics are according to a study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Doesn’t that seem unnecessary?  I think so.  But what can we do?  Obviously it’s not feasible to send our leftovers to other countries.  But we can stop ordering / buying more than we need, and we could also eat all that we have.  If we can’t finish our meal at a restaurant, we can take the leftovers home to eat later.  (That also saves you a lot of money; instead of $10 for a meal, it becomes $5 per meal if you make 2 meals from it.)  By wasting less food, there’s more to give / send to people who need it.  And by saving money, we have more to give.

You may be thinking, “I’m just one person, so what difference does it make?”  It adds up.  You can also let other people know these statistics.  We can also donate food (like canned items) or money to organizations who help the hungry.  There are even programs like FreeRice where we can give food at no cost to ourselves but a few minutes of our time.  Shouldn’t we care about those who don’t have enough?  Isn’t it Scriptural to help those who are in need?

It’s easy to say we care about those in need, but do we care enough to actually do something about it?




2 responses

13 07 2008

do you know of any organization that gathers up food from restaurants/bakeries/delis who are notorious for tossing out the days leftovers? Is there any place you can take bread and meat ect. to be stored and shipped out to people who are starving? I wondered if you had any information on any groups like this or I might jus try and start one. Thanks!

14 07 2008

There are some organizations that do that, but the only ones I know are local. In my city, there are a couple of places that collect food that is about to expire but is still good, and they feed the poor and homeless. Some of them cook the food and have the needy come to them, while others give away non-perishable food at benefit concerts and such. Several of these also preach the Gospel at these events, to feed the people spiritually.

Heather, if there isn’t anything like this in your city, perhaps you could get one started. It shouldn’t cost too much, because some of those places will give away their old food because they were going to just throw it away anyway.

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