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Pope: Wasting food is tantamount to stealing from the poor (so how can you help?)

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The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization released data showing approximately 1.3 billion tons of food — one third of the world’s total food production — are lost or wasted every year. Furthermore, "The consumer share of food losses and waste can be very high in specific locations; for example, the amount of food wasted in one community in new york state in the united states of America in one year was sufficient to feed everyone in the community for 1.5 months and 60 percent of the losses occurred after the food was purchased by the consumer," the report states. 

“Consumerism has made us accustomed to wasting food daily and we are unable to see its real value,” Francis said, comparing this attitude to the frugality of “our grandparents” who “used to make a point of not throwing away leftover food.”  

While the pope is pointing the finger at us wasting food as individuals and families, I have found that individuals can’t hold a candle to the food waste taking place among businesses.  In his speech, the pope also warned that a “culture of waste”  chiding media by adding “some homeless people die of cold on the streets, it is not news. In contrast, a 10-point drop on the stock markets of some cities, is a tragedy.”

The speech was part of the United Nations’ anti-food waste campaign to mark World Environment Day

As a volunteer who works with others to feed local children, I wanted to shout, “Amen!” when I read the pope's speech.

It wasn’t until I founded an all-volunteer chess program for at-risk kids after school at our local community center four years ago that I became familiar with the hunger that pains our community’s children. The quest to relieve their suffering led me to discover the stunning amount of food being  thrown away by businesses – much of it not rescued by food banks that are sorely in need of more volunteers to make the pick-ups.

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