The United States Department of Agriculture estimates that more than 96 billion pounds of edible food is dumped in landfills each year. That’s enough to fill 91 Empire State Buildings.
Encinitas teenage sisters Camille and Gabrielle Posard are doing their part to see that some of that food goes toward fighting hunger, not waste. Three years ago the duo founded Donate Don’t Dump, a nonprofit that encourages grocery stores and food companies to donate their surplus or short dated products to food banks instead of throwing it out.
Donate Don’t Dump has 14 chapters at high schools, elementary schools and universities in three states—and one local chapter has just launched a new effort to help feed the hungry in North County. The CSUSM KINE Chapter of Donate Don’t Dump has partnered with North County Community Services Food Bank to distribute 2,000 pounds of donated food to those in need every month at the Summit Church in San Marcos.
The local chapter spent the past several months fundraising to cover the cost of the distributions—and thanks to help from the North County Community Services Food Bank, was able to afford thousands of pounds of food for distribution.
“This partnership has me extremely excited about the future and what we are able to accomplish when we reach out to meet the needs of our community,” stated Michael Lawson, Director of the North County Food Bank.
Previously the food bank and teens partnered to get donated food such as freezer burned steaks and over ripe fruit to a local animal sanctuary—and that food went to help rescued animals instead of the landfill.
Not only does that food feed the hungry, but it also helps save the environment by keeping more material out of landfills. The US government recently reported that landfills are the third–largest human–related source of methane in the U.S.
“We want to usher in the next generation of recycling—to alleviate hunger, while saving the environment,” stated co-founder Camille, who graduated from San Dieguito Academy and is now a freshman at UCLA. “We don’t toss cans and paper, so why dump good food?”
And Gabrielle, who is now a sophomore at San Dieguito Academy, also has some words of wisdom for other local youth who feel inspired to help.
"I would tell young and budding leaders to follow your heart and no matter your age, you can change the world."
For more information or to volunteer, visit donatedontdump.org.