Early in the process that ultimately led to the Waste-Not Want-Not project and the writing of Charity Food Programs That Can End Hunger in America, John Arnold and his staff at Feeding America West Michigan began pondering what they could do differently or more efficiently to distribute enough food via charitable food assistance programs to meet the need for food assistance in their service area. And pretty soon a piece of the answer arrived with an agency representative in a story we’ll call “The Fruit Cocktail and Rice Guy.”
Today’s story of “The 90 Second Miracle” comes to us from John Arnold, then the executive director of Feeding America West Michigan. It illustrates the impact that a food pantry switching to use donated food (via the food banking system) rather than relying on retail purchasing can have.
One time I presented on the Waste-Not Want-Not recommendations at a conference at a Second Harvest national conference in Chicago. At the end of my presentation, a woman came up and identified herself as the director of – I believe she said – the largest food pantry in New York City.
She was shaking her head in incredulity and said, “Oh my goodness, I have never thought of these issues in the way you’ve described them. My pantry has been doing everything wrong, and I am committed to switching it completely over to the methods that you recommend.”
“But,” she said, “you’re going to have to help me out a little bit. My church already supports our pantry very generously; I just don’t think I can go back and get a lot more money from them… and I’m concerned that if instead of only letting people get food once a month, and making them prove themselves worthy and then giving them a three day box…” Continue reading “The 90 Second Miracle, or: The difference not buying food makes”