I found an awesome way to help feed 525,000 people. One that uses several million dollars’ worth of free food that would have otherwise been thrown into the garbage.

For years I was absolutely blown away by the fact that not only is 40% of all food in the U.S. actually thrown into the trash, but grocery stores are dumping $15 billion worth of food into the garbage that’s perfectly edible — often 2 to 3 days before the sell-by date.

I knew that if I could establish an organization that could help take this 100% free food and distribute it to food banks and homeless shelters, then it would essentially be the most cost-effective solution to the millions who struggle to find real food to eat on a daily basis. Many of us forget that hunger is still a reality inside of the US, but according to Feeding America’s new statistics, it’s a big deal:

  • “In 2013, 49.1 million Americans lived in food insecure households, including 33.3 million adults and 15.8 million children.
  • In 2013, 14 percent of households (17.5 million households) were food insecure.
  • In 2013, 6 percent of households (6.8 million households) experienced very low food security.”

And I’ve worked with Feeding America before, helping them to deliver 20,000 meals to those who need it most in my first effort to highlight the US hunger issue, but I wanted to make that number even larger this time. I found out that a group does exist that takes perfectly edible food from retailers like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, and then delivers it directly to the food banks, churches, and shelters that need it most — a group called Keep Austin Fed.

I encourage you to check out their website and not only support them, but see about doing the same thing in your local city. It’s really worth the effort.

What’s more, most of this food being delivered to the hungry is super high quality and organic. That’s a huge deal for me. Because, overall, the bottom line is that these people need food: but high quality organic produce is going to enable their bodies to do a lot more. Working with Keep Austin Fed really wasn’t like any other charity I’ve ever worked with. We loaded organic produce, meats, and breads into the trucks headed to the shelters, all as free donations from retailers like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.

This is organic food that would have otherwise gone into the trash!

I’ve decided to make this donation public in an effort to highlight two essential areas: the severity of hunger inside the richest nation in the world, and the ways in which we can actively use the billions of dollars of food being dumped by mega grocery chains to help solve it.

Want to give more value and feel happier in your life? Donate your time to a vehicle like Keep Austin Fed and create similar groups in your own neighborhoods.

Thanks for making this donation and many others possible through your support.

This post originally appeared at Natural Society

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