I've been expressing political and human rights opinions the last few posts, and intend to keep doing that, but I do need to talk about Waste Not Food Taxi's work sometimes, too!
WNFT continues to gain popularity and, more importantly, awareness in Washington County and the greater Portland area. Just yesterday, I had a terrific phone call with the director of Urban Gleaners in Portland, in which we discussed our mutual goals and collaboration opportunities. It's good to know we're not the only ones working on the massive global problem of food waste. Also yesterday, one of our volunteers dropped by with $75 in cash and several bags of food that her garden club contributed! Group efforts like this help us tremendously.
Still, there's a huge amount of food waste. We've barely scratched the surface. The next major effort is working with the Oregon Food Bank. Yes, they do a lot to get food to families facing poverty. But they also waste a tremendous amount of edible food. They DO compost it, and I credit them for that environmental effort. But their food distribution system is based on independent pantries that offer food boxes and other free groceries to families in need. The pantries buy their food from OFB (at a deep discount), so must be independently funded. And that distribution model takes time -- at least several days.
Lots of people working to feed the hungry are not approved partners of OFB, often due to lack of funding. Those are the groups WNFT is supporting. Everything we collect and give away is entirely free, and our only requirement is that meals be prepared in spaces that meet state standards for cleanliness and food safety. A big advantage these free-meal programs have is quick turn-around. They can take expired dairy products & meat and limp produce and get it out to homeless camps within 24 hours. So that milk that was dated yesterday can be served perfectly safely. Thousands of gallons and hundreds of tons are being composted due to slow distribution options and lack of manpower.
I feel strongly that we can eliminate hunger in urban Oregon this year, if we can partner with the Oregon Food Bank. It'll take a little longer to reach rural communities, because we'd have to acquire funding for our volunteers to travel the state and potentially spend a night on the road. But we can do this. Thank you for your support!
Susie Snortum is passionate about improving society's compassion for meeting basic human needs -- food, shelter, clean water, and dignity.