‘We knew nothing about charities; we just saw all this food getting left behind.’
When you were moving out of your college dorm, do you remember how much food you ended up throwing away?
Those unopened packages of ramen noodles, mini-boxes of cereal, and buttered popcorn packs were all perfectly good food — and they went to waste just because you knew you wouldn’t be eating them.
If there had been an easily accessible collection box for those items, you probably would’ve donated them instead, right?
After all, it’s just as easy to give them away as it is to throw them away, and you’d actually be helping hungry people get fed instead of wasting food.
That was New Jersey native Adam Lowy’s theory — and why he decided to do something about it.
In 2009, Lowy was in college, and it bothered him how much food was getting thrown out every year. So he started going around with some friends to ask students on campus if they’d prefer to donate their food instead.
Little did they know just how eager students would be to give and get involved.
This grassroots effort was the beginning of Move for Hunger (MFH) — Lowy’s now-thriving nonprofit.
They collected food on college campuses on dorm move-out days in exchange for free moving boxes. It’s the perfect complement to dorm turnover: Students can do something useful with the food they don’t need and get packing supplies in return.
In one month, with the help of his father’s moving company, Lowy collected 300 pounds of food for the local food bank.
And before long, the idea took off in a huge way.
“We knew nothing about charities; we just saw all this food getting left behind,” he explains.
Food waste is an enormous, largely unrecognized problem in America. So is hunger.
If just 15% of our wasted food were saved, 25 million Americans wouldn’t go hungry.
MFH’s mission is to make a sizable dent in that percentage.
And so far, they’re right on target.
While MFH had the flagship initiative and the connection to moving trucks, Doorsteps and Food Recovery Network had volunteers on the ground at various colleges.
Despite some initial hiccups, the partnership was incredibly successful. Together, they were able to give 5,000 pounds of food — 4,000 meals — to people in need.
And that was just the first year. MFH’s impact has skyrocketed since then.
The organization teamed up with over 750 moving companies across the country to help put an end to food waste — not just on campuses, but everywhere.
By 2012, they had collected 1 million pounds of food, and in 2016, they broke 7 million. That’s one hefty contribution to feed America’s hungry.
And Lowy doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon.
One thing he’s learned since the organization started in 2009 is that charities should exist first and foremost to help solve problems. Even if the road is long and arduous, solving the hunger problem in America is always on MFH’s horizon.
On a more basic level, all those ramen packages that students squirrel away in their dorms will finally serve a greater purpose.
Check out a video on Move for Hunger here:
These movers were tired of seeing hundreds of pounds of good food being wasted. So they took action.
Posted by Upworthy on Wednesday, July 12, 2017