With more than 14 million Americans looking for jobs and shelter, and food pantries reporting greater numbers of families resorting to food aid, it may surprise many people that 1.5 million tons of good food are thrown out annually in the state of California alone.
But business, restaurants, and individuals have few easy options for getting food to the organizations that could put leftovers to the best use for the needy.
Enter Los Angeles Times columnist David Lazarus. He’s struck on a novel idea: put your leftovers online.
Let’s pass a law that requires restaurants and other food businesses to notify clients that leftover food can be donated to nonprofit organizations rather than be thrown out.
If the client approves (and who wouldn’t?) the business would then post what’s up for grabs, and the time and place it’s available, on a state-run website—a Craigslist for cuisine.
Nonprofit groups that have registered with the program would monitor the site. If they have the capability to safely pick up, transport, and store the food, they’d lay claim to the goodies. First come, first served.
Several cities and states are attempting to pass laws to encourage the public and businesses to donate more food to the needy. At the federal level, the Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act—which passed in 1996—protects individuals and organizations from liability if they donate food to a nonprofit group.
That means that restaurants and caterers couldn’t be held liable if perfectly good leftover banquet food they donated to a shelter went bad and got people sick.
Also, the Los Angeles City Council recently adopted a proposal that requires all city departments—including the massive Los Angeles Convention Center—to create policies that will facilitate the donation of leftovers to organizations that help the needy.
What a awesome idea!
Laugh, learn and liven up your taste buds!