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Waste Not Want Not

In 2007, the Los Angeles Services Homeless Authority reported that on any given day in Los Angeles, some 73,000 people have no place to call home—making ours the largest homeless population of any city in the U.S.

In the Hollywood area, 21 well-established organizations provide meals and other services to the homeless. But the need for food far exceeds what these support groups presently have, or can afford, to give. Over the past few years, the co-founders of Waste Not Want Not have witnessed this need first-hand. Assisted by a few volunteers, Nancy Beyda and Alex Rose have organized a five-days-a-week pick-up of food from one grocery store, and delivered it to a group of shelters for women and children.

By expanding and building on our proven model of diverting food from the waste stream and into the hands of charities that feed the hungry, Waste Not Want Not aims to reduce food waste and, consequently, to reduce the negative environmental impacts of putting edible items into the waste stream. In the U.S., 97 percent of food waste thrown into the trash winds up in landfills. Because landfills lack oxygen, food breaks down in a manner that releases methane—a greenhouse gas that traps 20 times more heat than carbon dioxide, thereby worsening global warming.

Waste Not Want Not intends to raise consciousness about the widespread waste of food resources. A recent publication by the United States Environmental Protection Agency makes clear the magnitude this problem: “Approximately 100 billion pounds of food—about 3,000 pounds per second—is wasted in the United States each year,” the EPA publication states. Another federal agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has calculated that 27 percent of all the food produced annually in our country is lost or wasted “at the retail, consumer, and food service levels.”

For more information and to get involved, please email Nancy Beyda:
Nancy Beyda

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