Second Helpings Atlanta’s ‘Day of Giving’ to highlight food insecurity, food waste

Americans throw out 119 billion pounds of food each year which equals 130 billion meals.

ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Dozens of volunteers will spend the day Wednesday picking up, packing, and delivering hundreds of meals to the community.

Second Helpings Atlanta (SHA) is on a mission to reduce hunger in metro Atlanta while also reducing food waste.

The nonprofit teams up with grocery stores and other food vendors to rescue food that would otherwise be thrown out. The food is then distributed to nonprofits that help individuals and families experiencing food insecurity.

“We do this a little bit earlier than the typical Georgia Gives day on Giving Tuesday because we know that the need is happening right now,” said Juliet Eden, development and marketing coordinator, Second Helpings Atlanta.

Americans throw out 119 billion pounds of food each year. That equals 130 billion meals - at a cost of $408 billion, according to Feeding America.

“There’s actually enough food in the United States to feed everyone who needs a meal, the problem is we have a logistics issue in capturing that food and getting it to the people who are in need. That’s where we step in,” said Paul Clements, executive director, Second Helpings Atlanta. “About 40% of all the food in the United States, goes to waste annually.”

Ahead of the holiday season, SHA, which operates in 10 counties throughout metro Atlanta, is calling on the community to step up during its annual Day of Giving initiative. Their goal is to raise $15,000, which will enable them to rescue and hand out 66,000 meals to combat hunger and food waste.

“In advance of Thanksgiving, in advance of the holiday season, we’re really kicking into high gear. We want to make sure that all our partner agencies that are feeding clients this holiday season have fresh, nutritious food for them,” said Eden.

Last year, Second Helpings rescued a staggering 4.1 million pounds of food, which is enough to make 3.6 million meals. Representatives with the organization say this year they’re on track to rescue 4.5 million pounds of food.

“I just think it’s so respectful. For some people it’s sustainability, some people want to ease hunger, it’s both. And it’s also - somebody worked hard to make this food,” said Anne Beckwith, volunteer/board member, Second Helpings Atlanta.

If you’d like to donate to their mission or volunteer, you can visit their website here. Also, as an added incentive to give, there will be “power hours” throughout the day on Wednesday when companies and other groups are matching gifts.

Don  Shipman

Don Shipman

Don Shipman is a morning reporter and anchor at Atlanta News First where he highlights the good that’s happening throughout metro Atlanta.