Clean Your Plate: People Are Hungry

November 30, 2009 § Leave a comment

New USDA published the latest statistics on food insecurity on November 16, reporting that 49 million people are struggling with hunger in the United States. At Feeding America where I work, we were expecting the numbers to be bad, but we found them shocking.

Since then, there have been numerous articles about how people are coping with the recession, including an article in today’s New York Times about food stamps.

Many have observed the paradox of hunger and obesity in this country, and a recent study shows that as much as 40% of the food produced in this country is thrown out.

When I was growing up, I remember making fun of my elders saying that we needed to clean our plates because there were children starving in Africa. Now I find myself overcome with guilt if I don’t finish everything on my plate, or if I throw anything away in my refrigerator.

This issue touches every facet of my life, personally, professionally, and spiritually. My spouse, Gillian, talks about being a good garde manger in the kitchen, the person who stocks the pantry and makes sure that the food is rotated and used efficiently and economically, making sure not to waste anything.

As I approach my work in philanthropy supporting hunger relief, and as I make my own personal choices about food and sustainability, I’m going to strive to be a better garde manger at home, and do my part to help get food to my hungry neighbors.

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