The awesome way one woman is tackling the food waste and hunger crises in America.

More than 42 million people go to bed hungry in America. To Jasmine Crowe, that's just baffling.

"Some of my friends, people that are close to me, didn’t have food," Crowe says.

As someone who cooks food for a living, she knew she had to do something to help shrink that number.


Crowe explaining the reason behind her mission to help solve food waste and hunger. All photos via State Farm.

She started by hosting pop-up dinners for people who are food insecure. But these weren't just ordinary dinners.

Along with her volunteers, she served three-course to five-course meals, similar to what you'd find at a nice restaurant. They even created menus for people to order from to round out the dining experience.

The goal was to remove each person's food worries for a night and help them just focus on the positives.

However, as the endeavor grew, it started to become expensive to sustain.

"Me and my best friend who’s also a chef, we would make these menus based off of what was on sale at the grocery stores," Crowe says.

Crowe with a fellow chef and volunteer.

That's when she had her epiphany — why not try to solve the hunger crisis with the food waste crisis?

"We waste 72 billion pounds of perfectly good food every year in this country," Crowe says. She couldn't think of a better scenario than one in which one problem could actually solve the other.

Crowe created a sustainable waste management app called Goodr, which "redirects surplus food from restaurants, event centers, airports, and businesses to the millions of people who are food insecure."

Waste not want not, right?

If food suppliers have leftover food that they're just going to throw away, all they have to do is put out an alert through Goodr, and someone will pick it up and take it to organizations that feed the hungry.

For Ryan Whitten, executive chef at Turner Broadcasting, the importance of Goodr's mission hit him around the holidays.

It was perfect timing because, according to Crowe, that's when hunger tends to spike.  

Crowe with Whitten.

It ended up being a wonderful experience for everyone involved.

Not only do businesses earn valuable tax deductions for their donations, they can actually see the good it's doing people in real time.

"She would literally take our food and about 20 to 30 minutes later, I would get a picture back with this is where it’s going to, these are the people it’s helping," Whitten recalls.

Thanks to partnerships with large suppliers, Goodr's been able to serve 80,000 meals, including over 2,000 special holiday meals, to people around the country since 2013.

But Crowe's work isn't just helping food insecure people. It's inspiring people of all ages to do more for the less fortunate.

For example, every holiday they do an initiative called Kids Give Back, which offers the younger generation an opportunity to volunteer as servers for pop-up dinners.

A volunteer in the Kids Give Back program.

What's more, the kids who go through it seem to genuinely appreciate the experience.

"I think when we put them in a position where they’re actually serving, it changes their lives more than they know," Crowe says.

Goodr is also inspiring volunteers to get out and start charitable organizations of their own.

"I can’t tell you how many people have started volunteering with us, and then said, 'Hey Jasmine, I love doing this so much, now I’m starting a nonprofit organization,'" Crowe says.

It's going to take more than one organization to solve issues like hunger and food waste, but thanks to Crowe's inspiring work, a serious dent's been made.

Volunteers at a Goodr pop-up dinner.

When you do something meaningful to help others, it creates a ripple effect. Crowe has seen this effect firsthand and has made it part of her mission to keep moving the needle forward.

"Giving creates a cycle of love," explains Crowe. "Everyone benefits. When everyone’s doing something to help someone else, no one loses."

Watch Crowe's whole story here:

Help for the Holidays: Goodr

She knew hunger was an issue, but when she realized that even some of her close friends were struggling with it, she took action.

Posted by Upworthy on Monday, December 4, 2017
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State Farm

Disney has come under fire for problematic portrayals of non-white and non-western cultures in many of its older movies. They aren't the only one, of course, but since their movies are an iconic part of most American kids' childhoods, Disney's messaging holds a lot of power.

Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

According to NOW Toronto, the producers of Frozen II have entered into a contract with the Sámi people—the Indigenous people of the Scandinavian regions—to ensure that they portray the culture with respect.

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Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

Frozen II features Indigenous culture much more directly, and even addressed the issue of Indigenous erasure. Filmmakers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, along with producer Peter Del Vecho, consulted with experts on how to do that respectfully—the experts, of course, being the Sámi people themselves.

Sámi leaders met with Disney producer Peter Del Vecho in September 2019.Sámediggi Sametinget/Flickr

The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

In a contract signed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sámi leaders, the Sámi stated their position that "their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi," and "that to adequately respect the rights that the Sámi have to and in their culture, it is necessary to ensure sensitivity, allow for free, prior, and informed consent, and ensure that adequate benefit sharing is employed."

RELATED: This aboriginal Australian used kindness and tea to trump the racism he overheard.

Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

Anne Lájla Utsi, managing director at the International Sámi Film Institute, was part of the Verddet advisory group. She told NOW, "This is a good example of how a big, international company like Disney acknowledges the fact that we own our own culture and stories. It hasn't happened before."

"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

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