*Restaurants may do it. But not enough of ’em. And a really thoughtful and compassionate employer may have done it after that last staff meeting; you know, the one where they provided lunch? But nah, probably not. Hey, but maybe this was done after the holiday party last year. But who are we kiddin’?
Wonder what I’m talking about?
All that excess food that was left over. The food everyone left behind because they were stuffed after the event.
What on earth happened to that food? Even if the help took it home (and I’d prefer they did instead of throw it away), I know what should’ve been done with it.
There are hundreds of hungry people right here in the United States that would love to have that turkey sandwich you didn’t touch. They wouldn’t stick their nose up at that wilted salad; or that cheese that looks like its seen better days; or even that bread that is a bit tough around the edges.
Many of us wonder what we can do to help others. We probably give a dollar here, a quarter there; but heck, we’re struggling ourselves and we may not have any disposable income to speak of.
But reading the story of how one woman is making a huge difference in the lives of hungry people made me think perhaps there is something we can do…indirectly.
Especially if we work in the office of a large company.
Komal Ahmad is the CEO of Feeding Forward, a nonprofit organization that matches businesses that have surplus food with nearby homeless shelters.
And get this: It’s done through a website, with an app!
Ahmad, pictured below, tells CNET:
“Imagine a football stadium filled to its brim. That’s how much food goes wasted every single day in America.”
In the photo below, Ahmad stands with leftovers she collected from the Bite Silicon Valley food-tech conference that happened in June.
Do you know how many people those leftovers fed?
Now allow your mind to reflect back to some of those events I mentioned earlier in this article. Especially those of you who work in offices outside of the home; where conferences and luncheons are pretty regular.
You feel me?
Ahmad is a young woman of 25 (she was younger when she started Feeding Forward in 2011). She was approached one day by a man who was homeless and hungry. He asked her if she could spare some change so that he could buy food.
Instead of giving him money, Ahmad invited him to lunch.
She was fascinated by his story (everybody has one!). She learned he was a veteran who had recently returned from Iraq and fell on some bad luck.
“He’d already gone on two deployments and now he’s come back, he’s 26 and on the side of the road begging for food,” Ahmad said. “It just blew my mind.”
Now here is where you might recognize that there are thinkers, and there are doers. Ahmad is obviously a doer.
His story moved her so much that she set up a program at UC Berkeley (within a few months of meeting him) that allowed the school’s dining halls to donate excess food to local homeless shelters. That program then expanded to 140 college campuses across the US in about three years.
And now at 25 years old, she is a CEO of the nonprofit food service that she hopes to expand into what she calls on-demand food recovery.
What…you ask? Say no more, you say? OK, here is a request before you close this page and continue on to another article. If you work in an office, especially for a company, organization or business that has events which supply large amounts of food at various functions; Go and talk to your boss about contacting Feeding Forward with a request to join in and assist with our nation’s goal to feed the hungry right here at home.
Please share your experience after you have done this. I’d appreciate hearing from you!