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Spread the Holiday Spirit by Donating Your Time to Deliver Food

Season’s Greetings to the Lucky One means an abundance of food, drink and good news. Whatever you celebrate at this time of year, the platonic ideal of the December holiday is a bountiful celebration.

However, the reality of many families is not so pleasant. One of her ten households in the United States is food insecure. Food prices have skyrocketed, rising about 11% from fall 2021 to fall 2022 and are expected to continue rising into next year. This makes it even harder for families to put dinner on the table, let alone holiday feasts.

For those of us who are fortunate enough not to worry about where our next meal will come from, there are things we can do to spread the holiday spirit. Volunteer delivery of otherwise wasted surplus food directly to families who need it most.

Food insecurity and food waste are paradoxical issues, both of which are felt most acutely during the holiday season. In the United States, he 35% of the food we produce is wasted and 10.5% of households are food insecure. Overall, wasted food constitutes the largest single resource source in landfills.

Considering more than a third of all food produced goes straight to landfill, no one in this country needs to go hungry. But the problem is layered. It’s not just about cost and availability. It’s basically about access.

Transportation is a major barrier to getting the food your family needs. According to his USDA survey in 2015, 35% of people living below the poverty line use public transportation, bike, walk, rent a car, or drive their own vehicle. and moved to major grocery stores. This means that in cities, suburbs, and rural areas designed primarily for vehicular travel, getting to the grocery store can be very inconvenient, and in some cases downright impossible.

Many food-insecure households are led by people who work long hours in low-paying jobs and have little free time to buy groceries. Add the lack of convenient transportation, and the lack of often affordable childcare, and you have the perfect recipe for food insecurity. This includes people, both of whom face other challenges related to mobility and access to nutritious food.

Volunteers from Catholic Charities help load bags of food for those who have received food donations at St. Charles Borromeo Church in New York City Dec. 10, 2020.
Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

For years, the go-to solution for solving the problem of food insecurity has been donating to food banks. Food banks play an important role, but they help with cost and availability but not accessibility. Addressing the challenges of transportation and movement requires getting food directly into the hands of those who need it. No need to make inconvenient and expensive trips to pick up your food.

If you’ve used DoorDash, UberEats, or InstaCart, you know how convenient food and grocery delivery can be. There’s no reason why these services and technologies should be limited to Silicon Valley start-ups and their aspiring customers.

My organization, Food Rescue Hero, uses the app to send out local volunteers to pick up perfectly delicious food that would normally be thrown away by local restaurants and grocery stores and sell it to local non-profit partners. directly to households identified as needing nutritional assistance by The app not only diverts food waste from local restaurant and grocery store partners, but also brings food to the doorsteps of isolated neighbors who lack transportation, physical mobility, and relationship support. to be delivered directly.

Our model relies on the cooperation of the entire community. Nearby restaurants and grocery stores want to donate the surplus rather than waste it. Anyone with a car and a little extra time to sign up for a delivery. And trustworthy nonprofits that connect us with food-insecure households who otherwise struggle to buy groceries or receive donations at distribution centers. I don’t know what

Food Rescue Hero currently operates in 25 cities across the United States and Canada. But most of all we want our model to be adopted far beyond our reach. There are just too many to keep you hungry during this holiday or any other time of the year.

Food insecurity is a systemic problem, but individuals can make a meaningful difference. After all, getting nutritious food into the hands of her one family who needs it while reducing unnecessary food waste is well worth it.

Leah Lizarondo is the founder and CEO of Food Rescue Hero, which collects perfectly healthy foods and redistributes them directly to those in need. 2022.ORG of the Year and public register all year .ORG Impact Award.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author.