A New Jersey moving company has sparked an initiative capitalizing on the amount of food left behind in clients’ fridges in order to help increase supply to local food banks.
Over 1,050 moving companies and 22 million pounds of food later, and Adam Lowy—founder of Move for Hunger—has turned leftovers into enterprise-level charity.
“When people move, they throw away a whole bunch of stuff: food, clothing, furniture, you name it,” Lowy told TODAY. “And what bothered us was the perfectly good, nonperishable food that was getting left behind in the pantry, or simply thrown in the trash.”
It’s true. When you’re trying to get all the little odds and ends, pots and pans from your kitchen into a box and out again a few hours later, the last thing you want to think about is packing up 6-month-old canned peas and dried spaghetti.
“Moving’s stressful, you know? It’s not a fun experience, there’s a lot going on,” Lowy said. “And we started by asking a very simple question: ‘Do you want to donate your food when you move?’”
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That question, posed first in 2009, led to the creation of Move for Hunger, which links moving companies with food banks in their area, and these pairings with apartment offices, corporate housing, relocation management companies, real estate agents, and other entities to reach as many tenants and homeowners as possible about the impact they can make by donating their food before they change addresses.
Once one of these partners gets word that someone wants to move, Move for Hunger provides a broacher about local hunger problems, a large plastic bag, and a cardboard box—all to help people donate any food they don’t feel like bringing along with them.
Then a local moving company will bring those packed-up pantry staples to a local food bank, helping ensure nothing gets wasted.
Move for Hunger operates across the USA and Canada these days, and tries to hold special events—such as food drives and holiday-themed collections.
Their February 2021 Spread the Love event? It saw 16,000 meals donated across 300 separate food drives, and 20,000 pounds of peanut butter and jelly being used.
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Hunger affects one in six American children, and it’s only gotten worse during the pandemic as government-mandated business closures have ravaged the economy, destroyed jobs, and disrupted supply chains.
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In the first month of Lowy’s idea, he managed to collect 300 pounds of food, begging the question, “If one moving company could make this kind of impact in their local community,
what could an entire network of moving companies do?”
Those are the kinds of questions and ideas that can make that one in six become zero in six.
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