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Technology is a valuable tool in the fight against food insecurity

DETROIT — Sharing tables in Detroit, Michigan, put food out there for someone in need.

“You can see who’s hungry, you can see it in their eyes,” said Bonnie Askew, a regular attendee.

“Times are tough,” he added. “People don’t have good food.”

Some of the food on the sharing table comes from Chad Techner with Metro Food Rescue. Techner drives a truck around Detroit collecting food that’s about to be thrown away and delivering it to local food banks — more than 33 million Americans lack stable food at home, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“It’s unacceptable to me that we waste 40% of the food in this country,” Techner said. “Well, one in four kids doesn’t have enough food to eat. I have four young kids. That’s a statistic that really hits home.”

Techner’s team filled a truck at Bimbo Bakery USA, making Thomas’s English Muffins, with food just past its best-by date.

“If we don’t get it to a food bank, we have to throw it away so it’s completely wasted,” said Bimbo Bakery’s Matt Zuidema.

Each year, about 120 billion pounds of food go uneaten in the U.S., worth about $408 billion, according to figures from the nonprofit group Feeding America.

“There’s more than enough for everyone to eat,” Techner said. “We just can’t get it in the right place at the right time.”

But technology is helping to curb waste, connecting people to affordable food. Apps like Too Good to Go allow users to buy a bag of items from restaurants and stores at deep discounts, before throwing it away.

“There’s a bit of randomness to it,” said Kevin Suggs, 28, a resident of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. “But when you’re paying $3, $4 or $5 on a pickup, it’s always, you know, net (return on investment).”

In Detroit, Askew said Americans need to realize there is a need.

“If you don’t see it, hunger, go find it,” Askew said. “It’s out there. Donate your leftovers. Buy a few extra boxes of this or that. Find a pantry and donate.”

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Adriana Diaz


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