A few months ago, I visited a meal distribution in South Carolina. It was summer, so many parents came in with their children, in need of a healthy lunch. I watched as people were passing through the line, but one little girl caught my attention. She was absolutely delighted when a volunteer put a few strawberries on her plate. “Mom, we get strawberries!” the little girl exclaimed.
I looked at her mom and smiled. “She must really love strawberries,” I said.
“Oh yes, she loves them,” her mom said. “But they are expensive. If we ever get fruit it’s canned, so this is a special treat. I think she’s only had them once or twice before.”
The family walked off to eat their meal, but her words stayed with me. I thought about the bowl of berries I had thrown away just the other day. I had too many to eat on my own – and yet there are little girls like this one who don’t have regular access to fresh fruits and veggies.
This little girl is just one of many. Across the country, 13 million children face hunger. And there are not only bowls, but fields upon fields of berries (among other fruits and vegetables) that go to waste every day – many simply because they don’t look perfect enough to sell on grocery store shelves. It’s upsetting to think about, especially when I see how thrilled a single piece of fruit can make a child
I take comfort however, in knowing that at Feeding America we’re working each day to solve this problem by rescuing food and getting it to food banks. Last year alone, Feeding America rescued 2.6 billion pounds of food that helped provide 2.1 billion meals. This harvest season, we’re working tirelessly to ensure that good food isn’t left in farm fields to rot, but instead, it’s filling the plates of families in need and bringing smiles to kids across the country who get to try squash, sweet potatoes and other fall favorites for the first time.
From farms to our own refrigerators, the amount of food that goes to waste is more than enough to feed the 42 million people who face hunger in our country. No little girl or boy should have to go without. Together, we can ensure that fresh fruits and vegetables aren’t a special treat for kids, and that every child in our nation has the food they need. Learn more about how we’re fighting food waste and how you can help.