Non-Profit ‘Rescuing Leftover Cuisine’ Tackles The Problem Of Food Waste During The Holidays

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By Monica Hunasikatti

It’s easy for us to get lost in the fast-paced society that we live in. We often take significant parts of our lives for granted, especially during the holidays when consumerism and emphasis on luxury. For a lot of people, food is a luxury. Chipotle, McDonald’s, and Starbucks have become regular staples in many Westerner’s lives. We hardly think of hunger and food insecurity as a pressing issue here in the States.

However, according to recent studies, there are about 48.1 million Americans who are food insecure. About 40% of food produced in the US gets thrown away. This equates to about $165 billion being wasted each year. This wasted matter only adds to our methane emissions, which has been a cause for concern over the last decade. But with the recent news of the historic Climate Change deal reached in Paris by nearly 200 countries around the world who are dedicated to reducing emissions globally in a number of strategic ways, it has never been a more important time to think about how all of us can play our part.

Food waste affects us in more ways than one, and it is important that we begin to pay more attention to the consequences. It can really strike one at the core when you begin to realize the amount of food we as a society casually waste and take for granted. It would be incredibly beneficial to us, and many others in our communities if we dedicated time to save food from going in the garbage bin and instead give perfectly good and uncontaminated food to those who need it the most.

Rescuing Leftover Cuisine is a non-profit organization based out of New York City that is dedicated to doing just that kind of work. This organization finds homeless shelters that are in need of food and works to provide them with meals for their members. RLC coordinates with hundreds of volunteers a month to ensure that food does not become needlessly wasted, and they also partner with various restaurants and companies all over the United States to fight the issue of throwing away.

This non-profit rescues food by identifying variables that create the problem, and works to make sure the food goes to where it is needed. RLC also strives to make sure local businesses and companies make environmentally friendly choices. As we become more aware of the needless waste that surrounds us, I know we can all band together in order to leave hunger behind.

With the increased focus on climate change and taking accountability for our impact on the environment (right from an individual level all way up to a corporate and government level) each of us can do our part to take care of our communities, be responsible for our consumption, and help those in need around us.

If you are in New York City and want to donate food or volunteer your time, you can visit the RLC website to find out more information. For the rest of us, thinking about what we do with our waste food, especially during the holidays, is important. There are ways we too can ensure people in our community can take advantage of something that would normally go to waste.

Take a look at the infographic below to see just how food waste affects our environment:

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monica-hunasikatti

Monica Hunasikatti is a Virginia Commonwealth University graduate with a double major degree in African American Studies and Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies. She is currently the Community Outreach Analyst for Rescuing Leftover Cuisine, a non-profit dedicated to reducing food waste and feeding those in need.

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