Feel bad when you throw away perfectly good food? Your phone can help.
We waste so much food, it's embarrassing. Our phones are coming to the rescue in very creative ways.
You want it, you need it, you love it. But there are 50 million Americans who don't get enough.
I'm not talking when it's 3 p.m. and you're like, "I forgot lunch!" or the dinner you had that was made up entirely of string cheese. I'm talking the 50 million people in America who live day-to-day not knowing where they are going to find their next meal.
But there's a twist: Our country throws away around 30 MILLION tons of perfectly good food every year.
That means we're throwing away 30 million tons of leftover food while 50 million people go to sleep hungry. What?!
I don't have to dig into the math to know that hunger in America is a problem we can actually fix. And with technology, it can be easy and fun to do it.
Here are five easy ways you can help end hunger without really having to try.
1. Tango Tab
An app that makes it so that part of your bill goes to a local food charity!
So you go out to dinner with friends. That's normal. But did you know you can feed someone across town at the same time ... for free?
With the Tango Tab app, you simply go to a participating restaurant, check-in through the app while you're there, and a portion of the proceeds from your meal is donated to a local food charity. It's a win for the restaurant (hi, business!), a win for those in need of a meal (bye, growling stomachs!), and a win for the app user through an imaginary pat on the back.
Over 1 million meals have already been provided through the app so far — from people who were already dining out. Talk about a nice gesture that helps folks in your own community, and you don't have to go out of your way to do it.
It's kind of like a blind dinner date without all of the awkward silence! Check out participating restaurants to see what options are cookin' in your area.
It's exactly what it sounds like. You can swap your leftovers or you can get leftovers from someone who has 'em!
Let's say you're hungry and broke and all you have in your kitchen is dust. Or let's say you're full and can't possibly take another bite without the buttons on your pants popping off — but your plate is still full!
The app Leftover Swap is for both of those situations.
If you're hungry, view the app for local leftovers around you, make your selection, and arrange for pick-up or delivery.
If you've got leftovers, take a picture of them, provide details, and share the rest of your meal with a hungry neighbor.
An app like this can help you reduce waste, eat locally, and maybe even make a new friend (or five … depending on how much pizza you can offer). Worth a try!
If you're into fresh foods and/or gardening, woo baby, this one's for you.
Ample Harvest makes it super easy for backyard gardeners across the country to quickly find local food pantries to donate fresh crops for their clients.
This is perfect for the person who grew too many tomatoes or peaches and doesn't know what to do with them all. Through the app, you can locate the food pantries in your area and details on how to share your crops. Yay!
How many times have you thrown away leftovers and thought, "I'm being so wasteful, this is embarrassing."
It's OK. Feeding Forward is there to help.
With Feeding Forward, you can have someone come take leftovers off of your hands and deliver them to a local shelter. This app is especially good for companies or conferences, and right now it's mainly available in the San Francisco area. If enough people are into it, maybe that'll change?
Less trash and more people fed. BINGO.
This one is all about the grocery store. So much perfectly good food gets thrown out there, it's mind-boggling.
Instead of workers having to throw out food that's about to expire, the No Food Wasted app lets customers buy it. The app shows you discounts available in your area on food that is still good but about to be thrown out.
A pilot study done on the app showed food waste dropped in supermarkets by up to 18%, as Upworthy previously reported. Wow!
And you as a consumer don't have to do anything differently. You just use the app and find great discounts.
The only bummer part here is it's currently only in the Netherlands. So you can either move there to get cheaper bananas or start your own where you live (please?!).
There are problems we face that feel overwhelming. But then there are problems like hunger that we can actually do something about — right now.
We have the power to take steps — even as small as downloading an app — to give people in our communities a helping hand so they can get back on their feet.
Helping each other makes us better humans and more productive communities. Go get 'em.