I started volunteering at soup kitchens when I was 18 years old. This stoked my passion for the broad issue of hunger, and the intricately linked issues of poverty, food insecurity, and food waste. Here’s what we know:
- Approximately 40%of food in the U.S. goes to waste*
- Over 97% of food waste generated ends up in the landfill*
- Less than 3% of food waste was recovered and recycled in 2010*
Those stats are devastating and seemingly insurmountable for anyone moved to help solve these issues. But don’t despair! There are some innovative charities that are challenging convention and stopping hunger before it starts.
DC Central Kitchen (Washington, DC, USA)
DC Central Kitchen tackles the issues of hunger, food access, food waste, poverty, and unemployment with stunning simplicity and efficiency. In their own words, DC Central Kitchen “is a nonprofit developer of innovative social ventures that break the cycle of hunger and poverty.”
The Campus Kitchens Project (Nationwide, USA)
Campus Kitchens is a venture of DC Central Kitchen, and tackles the issues of hunger and food waste, and combines it with developing the leadership skills of students. CKP reduces food waste on college campuses, creating nutritious meals that are given to community programs who work with populations living in or near poverty and experience food insecurity and hunger.
LA Kitchen (Los Angeles, California, USA)
The newest venture from Robert Egger, founder of DC Central Kitchen, LA Kitchen takes the essence of DCCK and gives it a California soul. At the root of LAK’s programming is a culinary job training program giving formerly incarcerated individuals the skills and the network to get jobs.
These programs are the definition of grassroots organizations effecting immediate changes in their communities. Each of them could use your support, and you’ll feel great giving it!
Keeping it real: I worked as an intern for DC Central Kitchen right out of college, and later worked as a Supervisor at the Dillard University Campus Kitchen in New Orleans (the 2nd Campus Kitchen to open nationally). All these years later, I still believe strongly in their mission(s) and am proud to be an alum!
image credit Annie Spratt, Unsplash