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

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid