Regular readers know I volunteer to bring food from stores that throw away stock at the end of the day to a community center. Nearly all that food is fresh. It hasn’t gone bad, they just have new shipments coming in and have to make space. The system is broken. I’m just trying to keep some waste from entering landfills and into peoples’ stomachs.
Sometimes people donate food from other sources. This evening when I dropped off my delivery, a guy from a non-profit was dropping off a bunch of produce from an event or their office, mostly bruised and overripe, but still edible and tasty.
When the guy delivering it left, the people at the community center, a mix of volunteers and guests, started throwing most of it away. I didn’t need anything, but I couldn’t bear to watch them throwing things away (composting them, actually. I’m the main person in charge of collecting food scraps and bringing them to the compost pick-up place in Union Square), so ended up taking home a bunch of bananas and couple eggplants. I just ate one of each. Perfectly good!
People consistently reply to my descriptions of saving money and time on food that other people can’t do what I do, like they can’t afford it or access it. Not throwing away perfectly edible food is hardly inaccessible or unaffordable. I think they have some counterproductive sense of dignity for people yet less fortunate than them whom they’re protecting from too-low quality food. Or maybe they bought the hype from supermarkets that produce has to look perfect.
They didn’t just leave it for someone else. They disposed of it so others who could benefit from it later wouldn’t even know what was missing.
I can see no excuse for throwing away healthy, edible, delicious food. If I’m missing something, please let me know. Otherwise, throwing away food meant for the unfortunate seems unconscionable.
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