GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. (WCCO) — In a land of plenty, nobody should go hungry. But why then are so many Minnesota families food insecure?
“Yes, one in 10 Minnesotans is struggling to find food, and one in six children,” said Rob Zeaske, CEO of Second Harvest Heartland.
And with so many people unable to find or afford enough to eat, Zeaske understands that we can feed more if we waste less.
“Here in the Silicon Valley of food, the metro, we can do better. We can be re-purposing food that has been going out in waste bins,” Zeaske said.
Forty percent of food grown in America goes to waste. Much of that is the leftovers and excess food from grocery stores, cafeterias, farms and restaurants.
“At General Mills we are very focused on alleviating hunger,” said Nicola Dixon, assistant director of the General Mills Foundation.
One way to reduce hunger is by keeping tons of food from going into garbage cans. Instead, rescuing that food stream and putting it into bellies of those who desperately need it.
That’s why the General Mills Foundation donated $1 million to Feeding America for the development of a technology platform called “Meal Connect.” The software allows someone with excess food to document what they have and connect with a food shelf or shelter in need.
“So that food is directed to local charities, so surplus food is feeding Minnesota families rather than going to landfills,” Dixon said.
Soups and salads, sandwiches and pastries, are all packaged or frozen and scheduled for pickup. What had been an excess commodity will soon be consumed, battling both hunger and waste.
General Mills is working to scale the food rescue program nationwide. Here is more information on the program.