Saving Thrown Away Food – Instead of Starving to Feed Your Kids

Saving Thrown Away Food –
Instead of Starving to Feed Your Kids.

by Boyd Jentzsch

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As we learned in “How NOT to Lose Weight,” with no credit and no cash to feed her kids, Ramona felt she had no other choice but to leave her two pre-school kids home alone. With a TV set for a babysitter… a reluctant neighbor across the hall to look in on them… walking to work in the snow that heart-rending South Chicago morning, Ramona could only pray with each step she took that her children would be safe until grandma arrived “around noontime.”

That is how we remember Ramona, and that gut-wrenching dilemma, one of many, to feed her kids. To ward off starvation, in spite of two minimum wage jobs, only the local food bank got her through the month.

And that is where the story turns worse. Much worse.

saving thrown away foodAmericans throw away nearly half (40%) of their food every year.
Americans (a regular family of four) throw way $2,275 worth of food annually. That is more than enough for Ramona, and millions like her, to not have to starve to feed their kids. (And gaining weight each month.)

If we saved just 15% of the food thrown away, we could feed 25 million kids, moms, and dads…and our hungry senior citizens.

saving thrown away foodStarving Seniors. And Anorexia.
The rapidly growing face of hunger in America are those over 60, on fixed incomes, low health, no job prospects, and no resources to make up for the constant rise of food prices. The rate of hunger is double for African-American and Hispanic seniors.

Six million seniors face hunger each day. In the land of plenty called America, more and more seniors are dying of malnutrition. With an aging America, that number is expected to go up 50% in the next ten years.

saving thrown away foodSeniors – dying – of – malnutrition? How can that be?
Is that how you visualize the future for your parents or grandparents… insufficient food… deteriorating nutrition…anorexia?

saving thrown away foodYes, anorexia nervosa. Often thought of as a tragic problem for adolescent girls, more seniors now die from anorexia than teenagers. For reasons complex and longstanding, the last point of control in their life is for seniors to starve themselves to death, rather than face the uncertainty of daily wondering where their next meal is coming from. Is that how they deserve to live out their last years…the years that were supposed to be their “golden years?”

Looking Beyond Our Personal Weight Struggles and Eating Too Much
Sometimes we have to raise our sights a little, look beyond our own struggles with being overweight. We need to see the millions of kids, moms, dads, and seniors, who have far too little to eat. And like Ramona, fresh fruits and vegetables – the most frequently thrown away food – remain a missing “treat” in their lives.

Will you consider doing something about insuring food you don’t eat, doesn’t get wasted? Or talking to your local food bank, and helping them get more fresh fruits and vegetables onto their shelves? Helping even one family eat one healthy meal a week, or a month – working together, we can alleviate hunger that is everywhere, silently around us. Kids. Moms. Dads. Seniors. Which ones do we not want to help?

saving thrown away foodForty % of food thrown away in America, when millions are starving? Sad. Maddening.

We each need to find a solution to help in our own way. How many more days should they go hungry?

Learn more about FOOD WASTE here:
How Food Gets Wasted in the United States

Want to Save at the Supermarket – Compost

Wasted Food

HEAR about WASTED FOOD here:
The Ugly Truth About Food Waste in America

iPhone apps:
Green Egg Shopper ($3.99) and Food Storage & Shelf Life ($1.99) can help keep track of perishables, so you don’t throw away food before its time.

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© 2014 Boyd Jentzsch. All rights reserved.

-by Boyd Jentzsch
View Boyd Jentzsch's profile on LinkedIn
Boyd, a recovering Attorney, turned to weight loss research 20 years ago when he lost his mother to the lifelong effects of obesity. He has spent the ensuing years searching the science, and formulating a comprehensive metabolic map of the body — the only complete map of its kind. The map reveals the causes and effects of obesity and related chronic lifestyle diseases. It shows the only proven pathways to preventing and losing excess weight. From that unique foundation, he and his team created a weight loss education program that has helped tens of thousands to lose weight and keep it off. Plus, they created innovative and fun fitness and nutrition education programs for elementary school children, proven to reduce the early bio-markers for childhood obesity. HEART PLAN is a collection of his observations over the years of the emotional impact and motivational challenges nearly everyone faces when trying to keep lost weight off permanently.

See the Chapter Summary to Remember here.

All Published Chapters are available here. Plus FREE PDF’s for each to Download.

ASK Your Weight Loss, and Motivation Questions HERE, for a personal response.

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  1. wendi watson says

    i understand the amount of waste I worked at pizza hut when i was younger and if the pizza did not sell in 20 minutes it had to be disposed of, you could not eat it, you could not buy it half price, you had to throw it away, I feel guilty in my home throwing stuff away ughh but sometimes after 2-3 days we dont want it anymore

    • Karen Hinkle says

      I just don’t know why the stores don’t just give the food to shelters or the food banks they will come get the food I have said this for so long why do we waste food ppl here a starving and to throw it a way is just in saine I give all my extra garden stuff to ppl who need it

      • We have a local grocery store that gives all the food to food banks and shelters. I asked once why they didn’t have “manager’s specials” with marked down prices and was told the explanation. I love that they do that and wish more stores did the same.

  2. Jennifer Hiles says

    This is such startling information. Some of these statistics just baffle and surprise me. I admit that I waste too much food. It’s always bothered me but I was never sure what to do about it. I’m very interested in the Green Egg Shopper and Food Storage & Shelf Life apps. I don’t have an iphone but I’m guessing I could find a similar app for my smart phone. I learned how to cook at a restaurant and it took me awhile to learn how to buy and cook for just me (and then my family). But the food that got wasted at the restaurant was horrible. I was only 16 at the time but I really wish I would have been more aware and could maybe have taken the leftovers to those in need.

  3. Rebecca Swenor says

    This is so sad. I live in a small town so everyone helps everyone or tries too. We do have good programs here for the most part.. Over the years the stores have been giving the food banks and other programs the stuff they would just waste. Just because it is a day or two out dated doesn’t mean it is not still good in most cases.

  4. Kelsey S says

    It is so sad. There are stores that would rather toss it in the trash than give it away.

  5. This is heartbreaking! We do our best not to waste food but looking at those numbers really puts it into perspective.

  6. A lot more restaurants used to give the still good food that used to be thrown out to shelters etc–until the lawyers and gov’t got involved and then they got scared of lawsuits and a lot of them stopped! As for the grocery stores–they could certainly give to food pantries but they would rather we buy the food then it is given!

  7. Sadly, because of health safety standards stores can’t resell certain products after set times. As for in my home, very little food gets wasted. I only buy what I will use, I only cook the amount my family and I would eat. If there does happen to be leftovers, we have them the next day. If more people cared about hungry people rather than expecting the financially burdened government to help then things would be better. Food pantries would have so much food if people knew/thought the the government is not the end all/be all.

  8. This is a great post. We go through our cans every so often, and if something is creeping up on an expiration date, we donate it to make sure it’s going to get used. We shop and donate sometimes too.

  9. Wow! I didn’t realize that we throw so much food away. It is something that if each of us do a little bit better, it could really make a difference.

  10. It is really sad how much food is wasted and thrown away.

  11. My mother was considered malnourished when she passed away last year. There are so few resources for seniors to get the vital nutrition they need. I am glad you mentioned this issue in your post.

  12. That is really surprising to see it laid out like that. That’s actually really sad and wasteful.

  13. I try my hardest not to throw food away in my house. But the waste that the restaurant and grocery industry makes is RIDICULOUS!

  14. I actually have a big problem with that, and wasting food.. I do not allow my kids to waste the food or throw it out unless it is bad… those numbers are staggering 40%! we need to change that.

  15. I hate wasting food because our food budget is so tight.

  16. I once saw an article where a man installed a fridge outside his house and every night he’d leave leftovers from the family’s meals there for the homeless.

    • Celebrate Woman says

      This is quite an entrepreneurial attempt to not waste food and help people who truly need it.

  17. I love this!Great mind hehe

  18. Interesting!


  19. That number 40% is huge. We should be able to do something about this. It’s sad that times have come to this. My husband works at a grocery store and they do donate their items that are out of date to the Salvation Army. That is where are food bank is here. It is a huge help to those in our comminity.

  20. I wonder how the numbers are here in the Philippines. I heard from a news feature that some people have learned how to dig food from trash cans just to save their growling tummies from hunger.

  21. We always try to save our leftovers and even then there is alot that gets wasted. Makes you think.

  22. There really should be a better way. No child or senior or anyone should go hungry, especially when food is wasted so extravagantly. I think a middleman is needed to bring the food to those who need it.

  23. Here in the Philippines Starbucks donates the food they don’t sell to differeent charities.

  24. I was thought while I was young only to get food that you can eat so seeing people waste food is really hard for me as I know how many people are starving.

  25. WHAT?????!!!!! They throw the rotisserie chickens away after 6 hours? They are under the heat lamps in the store why do they not donate them to food bands? We can be such a wasteful country, this frustrates me!

  26. Wow, this post really opened my eyes. I had no idea so much food was wasted. The one I find shocking is the chicken.

  27. One thing I learned from my parents – to never let food go to waste. I’m teaching the same thing to my son. 🙂

  28. I know there are so many legalities with places donating leftover food now and I think that’s why it’s not done. But it’s a horrible, horrible waste when it could be used.

  29. Hmm, all of those graphics really make you think. Sad to think that one mans trash is another mans treasure

  30. Since we are more rural, we have local grocery stores that do donate the items to the soup kitchen. I am glad it doesn’t get thrown away.

  31. It’s against a lot of places policies to just “give food away”. I still cant get over the fact she left her kids alone at home, that’s a scary child services way to lose your kids.

  32. I can’t believe they throw away the rotisserie chickens after 4 hours! Someone should setup a program where you go store to store to pick them up and take them to homeless shelters or food banks!

  33. It’s hard to believe that seniors in THIS country are dying of malnutrition. We have enough food to feed the world and we let our own die. Just too much.

  34. i worked in restaurants when i was in college, and it was really sad how much food is wasted there. So i really try to keep track on the food in my fridge and try to use the most of it.

  35. It’s a really big amount of food that is thrown away! I have to admit that my husband throws away a lot of food too, so I always try to buy just enough food for our meals, so nothing gets wasted.

  36. It is horrible how much good food is thrown away! Just making sure you don’t spoil food can make a huge impact!

  37. This is so sad. Growing up in the Dominican Republic, we were hungry A LOT. My mom was very creative and stretched the few pesos she had, and every meal she cooked. We ate from the trash several times when she was not home as she worked a full time job and went to college while raising three kids. No wonder I don’t throw away food and food is so valuable to me. Moving here was shocking as to how people take food (and a lot more) for granted. I didn’t know about the seniors… my heart melts for them.

  38. I didn’t realize that ore seniors dies of anorexia than teens. Scary.

  39. It is sad and depressing but this is based on all others before us who have filed lawsuit and taking advantage of the law there are many dying of starvation in a country that is throwing away good food.

    Sad to say it is a ME world but it is never too late and each of us can make a difference.

  40. It’s very common for people to decorate/design their bedroom look using the bed/mattress as the main focus point. For me, it’s all about the size and how comfy it is!

  41. great advocacy. Middle east also has so much food wastage that campaigns like this should be more prevalent.

  42. My son and his college friends tried to start a food-sharing program in the city where they go to school. Government officials explained that risks of lawsuits for tainted, spoiled and poisoned food (remember the OTC medication issues years ago?) make it quite difficult legally to have food sharing programs. I know that’s sad, but this issue needs to be addressed on a broad scale.

    On a brighter note, a local community garden offers free gardening to the community. The only stipulation is that 10% of what families harvest goes to a local church that prepares meals for the needy. (Less concern about legal issues in our small town, apparently)

    A practical tip for families, designate a leftovers shelf in your refrigerator. When the kids are “starving” point them in the direction of leftovers instead of letting them grab cookies and chips from the pantry. We started this just about 2 years ago, and rarely throw away food now. With money saved, we can support more families through the Backpack Buddies in our school system.

    • Celebrate Woman says

      What you’ve shared is priceless! I love the community garden. I love that your local authorities allow more for ways food is shared and distributed. And I absolutely stand for pointing to the right direction in the fridge for our own “starving” kids! Bravo!

    • Food sharing programs are extremely difficult to manage. I love community gardening. We have a couple all around town, and even one at my daughter’s school. They are a great way to do what can be done. Also love the idea of the left over shelf!

  43. Oh my. I hate wasting food so that others can get what they should have. Thanks for sharing this!

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