Metro Detroit organizations fighting food insecurity and food waste with rescue mission

Some local organizations have teamed up for a rescue mission that helps in more ways that one. They feed the hungry while also keeping perfectly good food out of the garbage.

"We don't want it to be thrown into the landfills and we want it to be used for good, which in this case is to feed hungry people," said Wren Hack, the Detroit director of Hazon. She said they're taking surplus food from some pantries and delivering to other pantries throughout metro Detroit. That's extra food from stores, bakeries, restaurants that they can't use - but somebody sure can.

"The statistics are somewhere between one third and 40% of food is wasted in this country and before the pandemic 40 million people suffered with food insecurity and so it's really inspiring to be part of the solution and infuriating to see the problem," said Chad Techner, the director of Metro Food Rescue. 

And that was before the pandemic so the need for food is even greater now.

So Metro Food Rescue and Hazon have committed to both environmental sustainability and ending food insecurity.

The groups say they've rescued and re-distributed 118,000 lbs. of food since they started tracking the numbers in June.

"Just before the pandemic we rescued from one event 250 lbs. of food and it's been a scramble to figure out what to do next," Techner said. 

What they've done is form a network of nearly 40 pantries, like the Baldwin Center here Pontiac where Chef Amber Johnson is always getting something new.

"I don't know what I'm going to get on any given day but that's where the chef's hat comes in, where I can be more creative and come up with different ideas and things like that and, you know, serve the public," she said. 

Which is what this is all about: serving the public while fighting hunger and fighting food waste.

"The scale of the problem is so large and the need is so great, we're doing our little part and hope to inspire others to pick up these efforts," said Rabbi Nate Degrott, the associate director of Hazon.