The statistics are staggering and very real. One in six children in the United States live in a food insecure household meaning that they don’t know where their next meal will come from. And this is no fault of theirs – and maybe not even of their parents. Bad things can happen to anyone; people lose their jobs, get evicted from their homes, or get hit by unexpected medical expenses – all can suddenly affect their ability to put food on the table and will inevitably create depressing situations.
I know some hotels use left-over banquet food for employee meals on the following day to boost their profits and keep food costs down. Others may use the litigious excuse of liability, which is completely bogus because of thoughtful politicians (am I really saying that?) who enacted the national and states’ Good Samaritan Laws. Many foreign governments have similar laws taking away liability for donating food in a professional environment.
So when I sit at a lavish industry banquet or wedding or celebration and see that not all of the food is being consumed, I have to wonder why event planners and caterers and hotels don’t use a little energy and create good will to work with local food pantries or homeless centers to donate that perfectly good but unused food?
Event planners need to take the lead by insisting on a Food Rescue Plan. It can be as simple as adding a phrase such as “Donate all leftover food to the degree possible within safety and health regulations, and the Good Samaritan Laws” and “Donate all table scraps to a local farm or compost—if a program is available or arranged for by Group” to an agreement. Hotels can reach out to local food banks and homeless centers for direction, or anyone can use the Sustainable Events Network, Florida & Caribbean guideline.
See Food Rescue in action.
The South Beach Wine & Food Festival on Miami Beach is one major hospitality event that has such a plan where John Buschman and his FIU students collect un-served food and donate it to local homeless centers including the Miami Rescue Mission and the Broward Outreach Centers. Earlier this year they collected enough to prepare several thousand meals for the needy and homeless. A recent Food Rescue from the Cheney Brothers Annual Food Show at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center provided a similar amount of meals. A shout out here to Cheney Brothers and their vendors for their generosity and willingness to help. Food Rescue has no minimum so while there are major events, there are hundreds of other opportunities every day to care for the less fortunate. Do it! @gmic_fcn