Nearly 40% of the food grown in the United States every year is wasted.
That’s a lot of food being thrown into landfills, creating methane gas and other environmental hazards. Furthermore, that’s a lot of perfectly good food that many families right here in Northwest North Carolina could use.
At the same time that all this food is being wasted, recent studies show that hunger in Northwest North Carolina remains persistently high. This is especially true for families who live in food deserts. A food desert is an area, especially one with low-income residents, that has limited access to affordable and nutritious food. Northwest North Carolina is unfortunately dotted with food deserts from the mountains and rural counties all the way to our cities and towns.
It was the confluence of these three factors – food waste, persistent hunger, and food deserts– that inspired the creation of Second Harvest Food Bank’s Community Cupboard programs throughout the Triad.
Over the last few years, Second Harvest has been able to dramatically increase our fresh produce donations – this year by an incredible 89%. These fruits and vegetables are rescued from our grocery industry partners and are diverted away from the landfills and brought to Second Harvest. We make the fresh produce available to our large and diverse partner network that serves over 300,000 people, including 100,000 children, a year. Our partners have done an incredible job helping us distribute this food across the 18 counties of Northwest North Carolina.
However, because of its perishable nature, we need to move this good food quickly so not to create waste. Our unique Community Cupboard partnerships in Triad food deserts help us get it quickly to the places that need it most.
Last week, our Community Cupboard at Life on Lexington in High Point, NC, celebrated their 100th week of distributing these fresh, perishable foods. This incredible operation is staffed by Life on Lexington volunteers (who have, to date, given 9,900 volunteer hours to the cause!) and supported by Greater High Point Food Alliance.
Over these 100 weeks, 2,929 individuals have been served.
735,633 pounds of rescued food has been distributed, with a wholesale value of $1,238,340.87.
That is what we mean by #feedingcommunity.