Food service programs are a great way to ensure that people in your community are getting the foods and nutrition that they need. If you have been considering establishing a food service program in your neighborhood but didn't know where to start, there are a few things that you can do right away to help get things going. Whether you're working with a local food service provider or on your own, here are some ideas to help you with gathering food and supplies to get your program started.
Target Surplus and Wasted Food
When surplus and wasted food are put to use instead of being discarded, you can do good things in two ways. Not only are you able to feed others, but you also reduce the waste that's accumulating in landfills. Recent studies show that the United States records nearly 90 billion pounds in food waste every year. That is a lot of food that could be directed to food service programs if redirected before it spoils.
Consider launching a food gathering event in your community where you can reach out to local restaurants, food suppliers and grocery stores. Ask about gathering surplus or wasted foods from these sources. By reaching out to these groups and providing them with somewhere to direct that food, you may be able to put it to use before it perishes.
Host Food Drives
Food drives are a great way to get your community together to help each other. It also helps to raise awareness about hunger and the importance of food service programs in your neighborhood. Consider hosting a large food drive in conjunction with the local school district or charity foundations. You might even think about working with local food banks and churches to host financial fundraisers to help provide resources to buy more food at discounted prices.
Plant a Community Garden
One of the best ways to deal with food insecurity and fuel a food service program in your community is to grow what your community needs. By planting and maintaining a community garden, you also give those in the community a chance to take some ownership over their own nutrition and food access.
Talk with your local city officials about the available land where you might be able to plant a garden, then be sure to fence the area in to protect it from animals. You might even be able to get donations of seeds, gardening equipment and other materials if you reach out to local retailers and suppliers.
The key to a good food service program in any community is active involvement. With these tips, you can help to establish consistent, accessible food supplies to maintain your local food service programs. For more information, contact programs like New Horizon Foods.