Adam Lowy, founder of Move for Hunger, is one of five finalists vying for DoSomething.org's $100,000 grant prize. The organization will announce the winner on VH1 on Thursday.
1 in 2 children living in Washington D.C. does not have enough food to eat. Here I was, standing in the capital of the wealthiest nation on the planet, only to learn that fifty percent of the city's children would go home tonight and not find a meal for dinner. The face of hunger has changed. Never before have so many people been driven to our communities' food banks to find relief. How is it that in America, the land of the free and home of the brave, we cannot feed our own children?
I wish I could tell you that these are just a sampling of statistics from one specific community, but I can't. I drove across America for 28 days this past spring to learn about how hunger was affecting our communities at the local level, and everywhere I went there was more of the same. 1 in 4 people in the state of Delaware rely on the food bank for assistance. 1.5 million New Yorkers depend on soup kitchens and pantries. 70% of households in San Diego are at risk of being food insecure. More and more Americans from Baton Rouge to Indianapolis, Atlanta to San Francisco and everywhere in between were turning to hunger relief organizations just to get by.
While some problems demand complex solutions, budget talks, and economic growth models, tackling our nation's hunger problem relies on one simple equation: get excess food to those who need it. For me the answer seemed simple. My father and I had seen tons of perfectly good food go to waste while running our family's 90-year-old moving company. Amidst the backdrop of a great recession and rising unemployment, we could no longer sit idly by and watch as full pantries of food were dragged to the curb while people were moving.
In March of 2009, we started to ask our customers to set aside any of the unopened, non-perishable food they weren't taking with them during their move, and we would bring whatever we collected to the local food bank. By the end of March, we had collected over 300 lbs. of food donations that would have ended up in the dump. This was enough food to provide over 230 meals to those in need. While this was a mere drop in the bucket to the millions of pounds food banks distribute each year, the idea of Move For Hunger was born: if our little moving company could collect 300 lbs of food in just one month, imagine what the thousands of moving companies across this country could accomplish.
It is now 2011, and Move For Hunger has partnered with over 150 movers in 34 states. Together with our family of movers, over 325,000 lbs. of food has made it to local food banks throughout the country, without the food banks having to lift a finger or spend a dime. Each and everyday our movers go into people's homes armed with a local hunger statistic, educating their clients about the growing need in their own community while providing a box to collect any non-perishable food items not going with them on the move. Move For Hunger is literally bringing the food drive into the home of thousands of unique people everyday.
For every dollar the food banks don't need to spend on drivers, trucks and gasoline, they can provide up to 8 meals for those in need. We have taken an existing network of transportation companies and mobilized them for change. For our movers, it is a great opportunity to give back to the communities in which they serve. It's a win-win!
1 in 6 Americans does not have enough to eat. With 1 in 7 Americans relocating each year, Move For Hunger can make a major impact in the fight against hunger. Moving? Visit us on the web, and find a mover working to fight hunger in your community.
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