Plan confronts Charlotte food waste to help those in need

Plan confronts Charlotte food waste to help those in need

More than 1 in 3 families in Charlotte are food insecure and nearly 40% of the food supply the U.S. is wasted each year.

That is why Kim Aprill, Mendy Godman and Sue Hawes created Feeding Charlotte: to reduce these numbers in the Charlotte community while creating a sustainable solution for wasted food.

It is a simple formula that benefits both food donors and food recipients.

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Feeding Charlotte connects those with excess food to nonprofits that serve the food insecure and homeless population.

“We realize there’s not a problem with the amount but about food distribution,” said Aprill, Feeding Charlotte's director of food recovery operations. “We connect the dots with food being wasted to those with food insecurities.”

Since launching in Charlotte in 2019, Feeding Charlotte has rescued over 19,000 pounds of freshly prepared meats, vegetables and whole grains.

“When people think of donating food, they think of canned food which isn’t the most nutritious,” Aprill said. “We think everyone deserves a healthy, delicious, nutritious meal.”

The United States is the global leader in food waste, with Americans discarding nearly 40 million tons of food every year. That’s approximately 219 pounds of waste per person and 30-40 percent of the US food supply.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, many of the donor organizations were colleges and universities. However, with the shutdowns there has been a gap in food distribution. The shortfall is being filled by Roots Catering.

With the added impact on local restaurants, which are struggling to stay open, and the residual effects on its employees, Roots Catering has had the dual opportunity to continue to serve the food insecure while keeping their ovens on.

Feeding Charlotte has been able to help serve at a number of different nonprofit agencies from teen shelters to people seeking hope and healing who have been impacted by domestic violence and sexual assault.

Feeding Charlotte was awarded $7,500 as the SEED20 second place award winner.

With the SEED20 prize, Feeding Charlotte hopes to create a centralized app that will directly link available supply of food donors to meet the needs of a nonprofit.

Created by Social Venture Partners, the annual SEED20 program identifies, highlights and connects the community to the region’s most innovative ideas for tackling pressing social challenges.

The innovations can be developed by an individual or startup with a well-formed idea, an emerging nonprofit or a well-established nonprofit with a new program.

Each year, over the course of two months, a class of 20 nonprofit participants receives training, coaching, feedback and mentoring on how to succinctly and powerfully tell their story – who they are and why they matter.

“We want to serve more recipients in pockets of the city that are underserved,” Aprill said, “so more people can be feed.”

If you have an inspiring story to share, email Kevin Campbell, public affairs manager for WSOC-TV, WAXN-TV and Telemundo Charlotte, at kevin.campbell@wsoctv.com.