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CNN Hero: Gary Oppenheimer Gathers Excess Produce For Food Pantries

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Gary Oppenheimer saw a big problem. Lots of food is thrown out in American every year -- and we don't mean a dump truck full, we mean lots Estimates are in the tens of billions -- the University of Utah estimates 28 billion pounds while AmpleHarvest.org puts the number at 100 billion. Either way, that's far too much.

So, Oppenheimer looked around his community and saw an obvious solution. Give farmers and gardeners with extra produce a way to use it -- donate it to a local food bank.

Honored as a CNN Hero, Oppenheimer's idea was perfectly simple, but it's made a huge impact on his community.

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Organizations such as AmpleHarvest.org are popping up all over America to help solve the problem of wasted food. We previously profiled Food Forward, a nonprofit that utilizes volunteers to pick extra fruit, right out of people's backyards.