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Today Show: New app helps fight food waste and brings it to those in need

Transcribed Video:

We are all wired to do good. Our volunteers just keep doing it week on week off, and it’s because they want to. And that gives me hope in the world. In cities all across the country, there are thousands of volunteers who are rescuing food, fresh food that’s being diverted away from landfills in an effort to feed people. And it’s all made possible through apps like Food Rescue Hero, founded by food advocate Leia Lizarondo.

How did food recovery become a passion for you? I read this report that said that we are wasting 40% of our food. 40%? Yes. In this country. In this country. And it’s enough food to feed everyone who’s hungry four times over. Launched in 2016, the Food Rescue Hero platform supports food recovery organizations in the US and Canada to help coordinate donations from local retailers. It then mobilizes volunteers to redistribute the food to communities in need. Just last year, their network of partners recovered over 50 million pounds of food.

It’s like any food delivery app that we use. They get alerted of surplus food where it’s happening, and they can say, “Oh, that is close to me. I’ll take it.” Usually a rescue can be done in some as quick as 20 minutes, mostly under an hour. The app aims to tackle food insecurity and climate change, where food waste makes up 8% of greenhouse gas emissions. It’s the number one component in landfills. If food waste were a country, it will be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, third only to the US and China.

When you think about how much food waste there is, do you think it’s a solvable problem? It’s an absolutely solvable problem. We are also, unfortunately, one of the biggest causes of food waste. When we go to the supermarket, when we go to the milk aisle, we go to the back of it and not take the ones in front. I feel so clean. I mean, everyone does it. If we change those behaviors, it will lessen the instance of food waste in the first place. Food Rescue Hero is also creating community.

You use the word hero as opposed to volunteers. Why? Because they are. And we always think of Heroes as it has to be this big act, but I think the real heroic thing is doing something every single day, as often as you can. No one sees it, and you’re just doing it. So then can I become a food rescue hero? Absolutely. Now, I would love to introduce Colleen to you. She’s one of our amazing food Rescue Heroes. Can I rescue with you? Absolutely. Show me how this works.

You just go to the app. We’re going to claim the rescue, and we get in the car and we start moving. Okay. Today’s rescue picking up prepared foods from a local hospital. Just pick it up. Just pick it up. It’s amazing. Meatloaf, chicken, squash. So you work. You’ve got three kids. Why do this? I see the need for it, and I want to emulate it for my kids. And this simple task, 30 minutes, maybe an hour out of my day, is going to help feed our neighbors.

Final stop Oasis, a social services organization that serves women and children in Patterson, New Jersey. I just want to say thank you. The fresh fruits and produce that you bring are absolutely gold to our community here, who really don’t have access to that. I’m so happy he, like, introduced it to me. This is so wonderful. It’s brilliant. It’s such a great idea. So a Food Rescue Hero is working to

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