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.'
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.
[rebelmouse-image 19530127 dam="1" original_size="500x375" caption="Look at all that food waste. Photo via Starr/Flickr." expand=1]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.
Spotted in Phoenix! Thank you to Beltmann Relocation Group for helping to raise awareness about hunger in Arizona. #moveforhunger #endhunger #movingtruck #truckwrap #movers #movingcomany #beltmannrelocationgroup #arizona #phoenix #truck #trucks #raisingawareness #hunger #foodinsecurity
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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.