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I’ve written previously about how the COVID-19 pandemic has increased hunger in the United States. Even before the pandemic, 38 million Americans, including 12 million children, faced hunger, according to Feeding America, the largest hunger-relief organization in the US. But due to the impacts of the pandemic, in 2020 over 60 million people in the US turned to food banks and community programs for help feeding themselves and their families. 

Feeding America is an amazing organization that partners with food banks, policymakers, supporters, and communities to deliver equitable access to nutritious food. Through the 60,000 local programs that they support throughout the US, Feeding America has served one in seven Americans!

I really appreciate Feeding America’s focus on food rescue. According to their website, almost 40% of safe, high-quality food in the US is wasted instead of eaten. Yes, we waste food when we throw out uneaten food at homes, stores, and restaurants. (If you’re throwing out food items based on the expiration dates, however, you may want to rethink your behavior.) But we also create food waste when food is rejected because it does not meet specific retailers’ standards, which can often be highly cosmetic! (Throwing out “ugly fruits and vegetables” is a thing—and lots of local programs try to stop it from happening.) Food waste also occurs during the harvesting, manufacturing, and transportation of food. All of this food waste adds up: every year in the US, we waste $408 billion in food (equal to 130 billion meals!).

Feeding America to the (food) rescue! The Feeding America network works with agricultural and commercial partners (farmers, manufacturers, and retailers) to identify food at the risk of going to waste, connect rescued food with food banks, and ensure that the food is shipped safely and keeps fresh for longer. Programs like MealConnect are a way for grocery stores, restaurants, and hotels to donate surplus meals to people who need them. Coupled with hunger relief programs (that include mobile and drive-thru pantries and a focus on providing free meals to seniors and children) and disaster response, Feeding America makes sure that communities have a pathway out of hunger.

There are many ways to support the good work of Feeding America! You can donate money, volunteer your time at a local program, start a fundraiser or host a food drive, and advocate for better policies to combat hunger! You can even send a note of gratitude to a food bank staff member or volunteer to let them know you appreciate their efforts. 

Thank you, Feeding America, for making the world a better place!