BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Driving down 190 south, drivers see a billboard on the left hand side with information about the amount of food wasted each year. According to the billboard, the average American wastes 290 pounds of food a year.
“We’re pretty lucky here in America,” said Francis Boeck, from Tonawanda. “We have an abundance of food.”
There is food stocked on shelves; food on farms; food we can get fast. And food going to waste. We spend time searching several dumpsters to see what we could find inside. In one in North Buffalo, we found omelets, pizza, spaghetti, and a whole sandwich still in its wrapper all lying in trash bins.
“It’s really heartbreaking to know that we, as a nation, have enough food to feed everyone but nearly half of the food in America is wasted,” said Catherine Shick, the Public and Community Relations Manager at Food Bank of WNY.
Almost 40% of food is going to waste in America while nearly 50 million people don’t know when they’ll have their next meal.
“It’s something we have to think about,” said Boeck.
“I think what we need to do, as a culture, is kind of look at it differently and turn waste products into profitable items, into things that benefit the community,” said Kevin Gardner.
So, that’s what he did. Gardner used to manage a bakery on Elmwood. After seeing the amount of goods going in the garbage, he came up with the concept for Five Points Bakery which uses the loaves of bread which don’t sell and makes items on their menu which are all served on toast.
“We’re not wasting our food,” said Gardner. “We’re not wasting extra.”
The bakery uses crumbs to fill bird feeders and coffee grounds as mulch.
Gardner is hopeful other businesses, especially those in Western New York, will start being mindful about where the waste is going as there are more than 135,000 are relying on the food bank for their next meal.
“We will gladly take those donations,” said Shick.
She says their statistics are showing a growth in need as they saw a 12% increase in the number of children who are fed through the food bank.
Shick says for some items like cereal, canned good, and rice, the Food Bank accepts donations long after the expiration dates.
“The food you might have thought about throwing out in the garbage and not thinking twice actually could be their lifeline,” said Shick.
To learn how to donate to the Food Bank of WNY, visit their website here.