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One simple ask led to this nonprofit saving 7 million pounds of food for people in need.

'We knew nothing about charities; we just saw all this food getting left behind.'

One simple ask led to this nonprofit saving 7 million pounds of food for people in need.
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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.

Adam Lowy, founder of Move for Hunger. Photo via Move for Hunger.

Lowy's family owns a moving company in New Jersey, and it bothered him how much food he saw getting thrown out when people move. So he started asking customers if they'd prefer to donate their food instead.

Little did he know just how eager they'd be to give and get involved.

In one month, with the help of his father's moving company, Lowy collected 300 pounds of food for the local food bank.

This grassroots effort was the beginning of Move for Hunger — Lowy's now-thriving nonprofit.

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.

Look at all that food waste. Photo via Starr/Flickr.

Food waste is an enormous, largely unrecognized problem in America. So is hunger.

About 40% of the food grown and processed in this country is thrown away. Meanwhile, 42 million Americans have trouble finding their next meal.

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.

Photo via Move for Hunger.

Just this past spring, they launched their Move Out for Hunger campaign with their partner companies, Doorsteps and the Food Recovery Network. It involved collecting food on college campuses on dorm move-out days in exchange for free moving boxes.

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 endeavor was incredibly successful. Together, they were able to give 5,000 pounds of food — 4,000 meals — to people in need.

Students volunteering for MFH. Photo via Move for Hunger.

Since Lowy's first local community outreach in 2009, MFH's impact has skyrocketed.

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's inception 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

Clarification 8/8/2017: This post was updated to clarify how Move for Hunger originally began.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.