As we know, millions of Americans deal with hunger that they cannot assuage simply by going to the fridge or store. As we also know, staggering amounts of edible food get thrown out every day.  Think of ways to put those two things together.

The following ways may spur your imagination.

Move for hunger.

This morning, I saw an MSNBC TV segment about www.moveforhunger.org.

Owners of a moving company noticed that people often throw out a significant amount of edible food in conjunction with moving.  So, the moving company started a network of moving companies and a website.

If you are moving, go to the website.   If you find a participating moving company near you, call.  The company will pick up the food and take it to a local food bank. (That company would also no doubt enjoy getting your business, too, but I don’t think there’s an obligation.)

You can also help this effort by publicizing it, especially if you know someone who is moving, or a local moving company that may want to participate.

A related thought:  People also discard usable items while preparing for moving.  Maybe those items could be somehow donated, too, perhaps to a shelter or charitable resale store?

Unite local restaurants with local homeless shelters.

True story.  A high school student noticed that many local restaurants and cafeterias were discarding edible food (cooked and raw), especially if they were closing for the weekend or for a vacation.

She contacted her state representative.  Working together, they got a state law passed that immunized restaurants from any liability that might arise from donating food to homeless shelters. (Most or all states usually have statutes immunizing charitable organizations and churches that can be used as a model for a statute immunizing donors of food.)

Then, this amazing young woman solicited people in her town for volunteers willing to pick up the food from the eateries as they were closing (works especially well with places that close early, such as  those in business districts that do not serve dinner).  Some local cab companies and limo companies even agreed to join the effort.

Next, she contacted local eateries with a copy of the law and her plea.  Then, she coordinated the restaurants with the volunteer drivers.

If a lone high schooler can do it, so can you (assuming you are physically able)!  And, you can volunteer to pick up food, too.

By the way:  Someone who was helping this high schooler improve the college applications she had prepared noticed that they contained nothing about her remarkable idea and effort.  He urged her to include a description of her accomplishment in her list of extra-curricular activities, especially because her grades were not the best.  She did get into college, although I cannot say if that was due to the above-described work.  Nonetheless, it may make a great project for a high school class.

Unite restaurants with charitable organizations.

This suggestion does not involve excess food, but restaurants are usually willing to participate in feeding the hungry in some way, especially if they gain something, too.

Charitable organizations sponsor a lot of events, often high-priced ones.  Start a network of restaurants, catering halls, high end caterers and the like and a network of organizations that sponsor at least one or two annual events.

The charitable organizations agree to use a member of  the providers’ network for their charitable events.  To be in the network, the restaurant or catering hall agrees to donate some small sum per head from each event to a local homeless shelter or other local charity.  In return, they get business, p.r., etc. , as does the charity.

Meanwhile, over time, the charities and the food providers develop relationships that tend to ensure good service to the charity, and makes it easier for the charity to throw its events.

This could also work with local, larger businesses that throw an annual  event for employees, maybe a dance or even an annual, catered picnic.

If you know of other “win win” ways to help the hungry, other than donating money (not that there’s anything wrong with that), please share below.  If you know of FDL diaries that have dealt with the subject, maybe you can find and share a link or two below, too