Food Rescue connects restaurant leftovers with those in need

WASHINGTON (WPVI) -- It's a sad reality, so many Americans waste a massive amount of food every year even though tens of millions of others in this country struggle with hunger, wondering how, when and where they will get their next meal.

One organization is trying to change that with a tech-savvy twist.

We the Pizza is a bustling restaurant in the shadow of the US Capitol, packed with tourists, congressional staffers and even lawmakers.

But like most restaurants, at night there's often leftover food and that's where Food Rescue US steps in.

Food Rescue is an organization that uses an app to connect volunteers, known as food rescuers, with businesses that are eager to donate extra food.

It's really simple - log on, see what restaurants, farmers markets or shops in your area have food and what nearby organizations are eager to accept it.

"For busy people who have busy schedules, it's very nice to be able to look and see what works for your schedule," said Kate Urbank.

Spike Mendelsohn, the celebrity chef and owner of We the PIzza, says Food Rescue US fits a perfect need.

"We love that it's going to someone in need, someone that's looking for a meal," he said.

Between 40 and 50 million Americans are struggling with hunger. The government has found that tens of billions of pounds of food are wasted in American homes, stores and restaurants.

Community-focused restaurant owners like Mendelsohn are working to change that and are turning to volunteers who can step in and get this great food to people that need it.

Beth Beers is a food rescuer. Twice a week she and her husband stop by We the Pizza to pick up packed leftover food. Then they walk up the street to donate it.

"The app makes it really easy to dip your toe into this volunteer effort. It's a really rewarding thing to do," she said.

And it makes a real difference to Shirley's Place, a center that caters to the homeless and hungry on Capitol Hill.

Program Manager Shelah Wilcox says she's always grateful for whatever donations they can get, but the partnership with Food Rescue US means they get more than just noodles or sandwiches.

"So you can't go wrong with pizza," she said. "We get wonderful donations for Thanksgiving and we appreciate that. But individuals are hungry January through December."

Food Rescue is currently in talks to bring the service here to Philadelphia.

If you are interested, CLICK HERE to be added to their list.


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