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Group Uses Leftover Food to Feed the Hungry

Charity Group Turns Leftover Food Into Real Help For Needy People
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For many families, putting healthy food on the table is challenging. But a non-profit organization is helping one area of the U.S. It is saving food from landfills and giving it to families, schools and other social organizations.

Group Uses Leftover Food to Feed the Hungry
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From VOA Learning English, this is the Health & Lifestyle report.

Every year around the world, humans waste an estimated 1.3 billion tons of food.

This happens even though many people go hungry. Some food aid groups say that in the United States alone, as many as 41 million people go hungry every day.

So, some people have made it their life’s work to connect the two: claiming food before it goes to waste and then giving it to people who are hungry.

One of those people is Brett Myers. In 2011, Myers started Nourish Now, a food recovery and food bank in the U.S. state of Maryland. This non-profit organization collects food and then gives it to the poor and organizations that support them.

"Nourish Now is a food recovery-based food bank that recovers food from restaurants, catering companies, grocery stores, hotels, farms and more. And then donates that food directly to families in need, kids in need at local schools."

Nourish Now receives food donations from 160 corporations and organizations. Each month, it recovers more than 20,000 kilograms of food and serves 700 needy families, schools and social organizations. Every day, staff and volunteers repackage the donations and distribute them to recipients.

A woman named Rhoda is one of the recipients. She describes the quality of the food delivered to her family by Nourish Now.

"It consists of fresh food, fruits and vegetables. You will get bread. Sometimes you get dairy products such as yogurt or milk. And you will get some meat items also. And if you get lucky you might get cooked food, or prepared salads, and stuff like that."

The supplies can feed a family for five days. Each recipient is eligible to receive food every 30 days. And the packages are made to fit the dietary needs of each family.

One mother and a customer of Nourish Now explains how the food donations are helping her family.

"We sleep better, we eat better, the kids do better in school. They are eating vegetables that they would not normally get to eat and they are very much healthier now. One child had high blood pressure, not anymore. We are eating fresh fruits and vegetables now."

Besides families, the organization also donates small meals called snacks to several nearby schools and social organizations.

Nourish Now has grown considerably since it opened. The organization now has 12 employees and 68 volunteers. Brenda is one of them. Part of her job as a volunteer is to make sure that none of the food goes to waste.

"In the morning, I make sure that all the things that came late yesterday, get put away so that we use that last, and we used the things that came the day before first, so that we're always giving fresh food and we're not throwing out anything."

Nourish Now is based just outside of Washington, DC. So the founder says that the last government shutdown increased the number of Nourish Now recipients.

"Literally every day the government is shut down, we get more calls."

The organization even held a shutdown dinner attended by more than 300 federal workers and families.

And that’s the Health & Lifestyle report.

I’m Anna Matteo.


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Words in This Story

nourishv. to provide (someone or something) with food and other things that are needed to live, be healthy, etc.

distribute v. to give out or deliver especially to members of a group

cater v. to provide a supply of food

repackage v. to package again or anew

recipient n. one that receives

eligible adj. qualified to participate or be chosen

dietary / diet adj. the kinds and amounts of food available to or eaten by an individual, group, or population

volunteer n. a person who does work without getting paid to do it