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Excess Food, Which Normally Gets Thrown Out, Helps To Feed Hungry In Santa Barbara County

Photo by Community Environmental Council
Residents of Sarah House, a hospice for low-income people, enjoy food donated by Pure Joy Catering through Santa Barbara County Food Rescue

Food that would normally be thrown out is now feeding the hungry in Santa Barbara County.

Restaurants, supermarkets and caterers routinely dump their excess prepared food. But instead of filling up landfills with healthy, uneaten food, the Community Environmental Council came up with an idea.

“It just seems wrong to send edible food to waste. Instead, we could be giving it to people who are hungry,” says Emily Miller with CEC.

They’ve launched the Santa Barbara County Food Rescue to coordinate the delivery of excess food to organizations that help those in need including senior centers, hospice facilities and others that serve low-income families.

She says this program is making an environmental impact by reducing climate change.

“Across America, we’re sending about 40% of the food to landfills. And, anytime food enters the landfill, it decomposes into methane and releases a ton of greenhouse gas emissions,” Miller says.

The program diverts about 550 pounds of food from landfills per month.