News / USA

Putting Slurplus Food to Good Use

Putting Surplus Food to Good Usei
X
May 24, 2013 7:31 PM
With world headlines warning of increasing drought and a hunger crisis and almost 15 percent of U.S. households struggling to put food on the table, a religious group in the shadow of the nation's capital is quietly putting surplus food on empty tables. VOA’s June Soh has the story.
June Soh

With world headlines warning of increasing drought and a hunger crisis and almost 15 percent of U.S. households struggling to put food on the table, a religious group in the shadow of the nation's capital is quietly putting surplus food on empty tables.

Every Monday, about 150 people line up in the parking lot of Christian Life Center in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Joan Oswald, whose family has lived in an emergency homeless shelter since April, got here early.

“I had a lot of difficulties finding help with food. But since I met pastor Slye, we don’t have to worry about food for my family. Every day there is food in my refrigerator," Oswald said.

Everyone in line receives bread and a full bag of produce weighing more than five kilos.

“Everything is free. That is why you have a line here. Everybody is hurting right now.  Everybody has a need no matter what background you are from,” said pastor Ben Slye, who  runs Christian Life Center.

He began the weekly food distribution to low-income residents in the Washington suburbs a year and a half ago. Every Monday, he rents a refrigerated truck to pick up fruits and vegetables from the two largest produce companies on the east coast, Taylor Farms and Coastal Sunbelt Produce.

“It is approximately around 20,000 pounds [9,000 kilograms] per week. It could be sometimes we receive just 5,000. Today we will receive up to 40 to 50,000 pounds [18,000 to 23,000 kilograms] of fresh produce between the two organizations,” Slye said.

The program began when Slye was told about the huge amount of produce sitting in warehouses with nowhere to go.

“We sell millions of cases of fresh fruits and vegetables every year.  Sometimes we have a little leftover. The quality standards of our customers are very high.  So if the produce gets a couple of days old, maybe we can’t sell it to our customers, but we certainly don’t want it to go to waste,” said James McWhorter, a vice president of Coastal Sunbelt Produce.

If the surplus produce doesn’t get picked up, McWhorter says, the company has to throw it out.

"Best case scenario, it will go to be composted. Worst case scenario, it will go to the landfill,” he said.

About 40 percent of all the food produced in the US is wasted, according to a recent report by the National Resources Defense Council.

“It is a huge waste both monetarily and environmentally. We estimated that about $165 billion every year was wasted on food that we never eat,” said Bob Keefe, the council's spokesperson.

Back at the Christian Life Center, about 20 local non-profit groups take Slye's leftovers to distribute.

“Vegetables are hard to get. You can get all the bread, but vegetables are really hard to get. Very thankful,” said Laura Lombardo of Greenbelt Baptist Church.

“A lot of families are living paycheck to paycheck, so they are not having to buy those expensive vegetables. It is a pretty good thing for them,” said Dana Duncan of the Bladensburg Police Department.

Slye says it is a blessing to be able to reduce food waste and help feed people in need.

You May Like

Anti-Terror Drills Highlight China’s Push Into Central Asia

China, Russia, several central Asian countries wrap up massive anti terrorism military drills in Inner Mongolia More

Erdogan’s First Step: Secure More Power in New Role in Turkey

Erdogan was sworn in as Turkey's first popularly elected president on Thursday; he picked former foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu as PM More

Pakistan Army Fails to Break Political Deadlock

PM Sharif claims he didn't ask army to defuse crisis; military rejects claim More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assaulti
X
Daniel Schearf
August 29, 2014 9:30 PM
After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.

AppleAndroid