Every day, our neighbors in Montgomery County are going hungry.
According to the Montgomery County Food Security Plan, 70,000 Montgomery County residents struggle with food insecurity and one of every three children in our public schools qualify for free or reduced-price meals. People who are food insecure have higher health risks — poor nutrition leads to higher incidences of diabetes, hypertension and other cardiovascular risk factors, weakened immune systems and a heightened risk for cancer.
Throwing away perfectly good food not only hurts the people who need it, it also hurts our planet.
Unused food in Montgomery County accounts for nearly 146,000 tons (23%) of our solid waste. Our wasted food contributes to greenhouse gas pollution and wastes the land, water, and energy that was used to produce the food.
We waste food for all sorts of reasons. Farmers may overplant to manage weather fluctuations, or cull blemished or misshapen fruits and vegetables before selling to retail markets. Grocers discard foods prior to their sell by dates, even if the food is perfectly good and safe to eat. Restaurants and food service organizations in hospitals, senior centers and schools may find it hard to predict their diners’ preferences. Caterers may over-provide to make sure their clients are happy.
Food recovery is among the ways we can eliminate hunger and food waste in Montgomery County. Community Food Rescue, a program of Manna Food Center, uses innovative technology to match perfectly good food from local businesses that would have been thrown away and deliver it to groups helping people who are experiencing hunger. Reducing food waste also helps to achieve Montgomery County’s recycling goal of 70% by 2020.