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

    Saudi Arabia’s New Female Politicians in the Other Room 

    Many in Saudi Arabia say elected representatives should share unsegregated spaces; according to a recent survey, more than half the Saudi population, both men and women, prefer to work in a segregated place

    Russia Not ‘Apologetic’ for Syria Airstrikes

    With Moscow criticized for targeting armed opponents of President Assad, Russia’s UN envoy says his country ‘acting in a very transparent manner’

    Pakistan Warns of Islamic State's Growing Reach

    Aftab Sultan, General Director General of Intelligence Bureau (IB), briefed Senate Committee in closed hearing, saying that IS-linked groups have been expanding in Pakistan

    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.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.