In a recent online commentary, New York Times food writer Mark Bittman does well to point out that to talk about hunger in the U.S. is to talk about change. The face of hunger in America has been changing for years now and pieces like Bittman’s go a long way in raising awareness of the quickness of the change and its pervasiveness. When he points out that there are now 46 million Americans participating in the federal government’s Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program (SNAP) and that there should be more he gets right to the heart of why we were compelled to start Community Plates in the first place. Bittman couldn’t be more correct when writing “it seems absurd to have to say it, but no one in this country should go hungry.”
He’s exactly right. In fact the way we’ve been saying it for a while now is “Hunger in the U.S. makes no sense.” This disconnect was the other half of what began our food rescue journey; the reality of how much need there is coupled with the realization of how much food was going to waste. Bittman notes that organizations who serve our countries food insecure population are now “providing their clients more fresh food than ever before.”
It’s in this statement about new opportunities and fresh food that I think we can be encouraged that some of the change in the United States’ hunger conversation is actually good.
1. Change is good when our minds are being changed; as we become more and more aware of the need around us (Bittman remind us here of our neighbors).
2. Change is good when we are more open to fresh solutions to growing problems. This includes making sure nothing usable goes to waste, realizing that “sell by dates” are not the same as expiration dates (see “Where Our Food Rescue Opportunity Comes From” for more on this) and making sure that we get the food as quickly as possible to where it can do the most good. In other words we are beginning to see a change when it comes to the urgency with which we approach this senseless problem.
SNAP is doing good work, as well as our nation’s network of food banks. Community Plates is happy to have joined this charge with the thought that a food rescue platform built on technology and powered exclusively volunteers just might be the next important, sustainable change that is needed to see American food insecurity brought to its end.
If our urgency matches the urgency of the problem, then we are talking about a change we should all be able to embrace.
Join the food rescue revolution at www.foodrescueus.wpengine.com