Company rescues tons of food to feed hungry
April 1, 2014
BOSTON —The statistics are eye-opening. While millions of Americans don’t know where their next meal is coming from, 40 percent of the food we produce every year is wasted.
In this week’s Boston Strong, a local company rescues the food we’d otherwise dispose of and delivers it to those who need it.
Truckloads of food would be headed for the trash every day. Instead, it’s delivered to those who might otherwise go hungry.
“Picture the Rose Bowl, which is a 95,000-seat arena. If you filled it with fresh produce every day and lit it on fire, that’s the rate we are wasting food,” said Ashley Stanley, founder of Lovin’ Spoonfuls.
Astonished by numbers like those, Stanley started the nonprofit organization, rescuing perishable foods like produce, lean proteins and whole grains, from the dumpster and into the hands of those in need.
“It’s an unnecessary problem to continue to waste so much food when so much of it is good,” said Stanley.
Stanley works with restaurants, farms and markets like Whole Foods, delivering truckloads of their unsold food to places like Pine Street Inn.
“The best contribution we get from Lovin’ Spoonfuls is fresh produce and fresh fruit, that allows us to provide our clientele a certain amount of protein, a certain amount of vitamins and so on,” said Frank Van Overbeeke, executive chef at Pine Street Inn.
Lovin’ Spoonfuls up-cycles to anyone who serves hungry people.
“That includes soup kitchens, social service entities, community meal programs,” said Stanley.
“Grocery stores don’t want to throw away produce that’s not perfect. But they can’t sell it either because the customers don’t want a bruised piece of fruit or vegetable. We have an opportunity to provide folks who are in need of it,” said Van Overbeeke.
And as the face of hunger changes, the need for food rescue is evident in everyone’s community.
“You’ve got families that have kids in school and they’ve got cars and jobs. And they’re making choices whether or not to pay their heating bill or buy groceries,” said Stanley. “We talk so much about food being a right and not a privilege. Food is such an incredible tool for social justice and we need to utilize it better.”
Since they started five years ago, Lovin’ Spoonfuls has rescued over 1,250,000 pounds of food from the trash.
In Massachusetts, new legislation will require businesses that throw a ton or more of food away to up-cycle it, much like Lovin’ Spoonfuls does. It takes effect in October.