Today our guests are Whitney Mikkelsen and Jessica Ojea! We talked about food insecurity, food deserts and local solutions.
But first we had a visit with Laurie Walker who is the director of USF Botanical Gardens. This Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th from 10am-3pm is the summer sale. USF Botanical Gardens members early entry is 9:30am. BRING YOUR WAGON AND TALK TO THE EXPERTS! This is the first summer sale since 2019 and it’s going to be great!!
Learn more here.
Back to our scheduled guests:
Whitney earned a masters degree in clinical psychology and worked for about 20 years in ERs as an Emergency Mental Health Specialist in both Seattle and Massachusetts. Around ten years ago she had to stop working due to pain from Cerebral Palsy. While still in Massachuesetts Whitney found out about FoodRescueUS where a good friend had founded a chapter. Whitney started FoodRescueUS Dunedin Florida after she lived there for only 1 year.
Jessica Ojea started a community charity at the end of the driveway and as a mother of two, was frequently putting out extra food and clothing. At the beginning of Covid, around 2020 she started volunteering with FoodResuceUS Dunedin. Jessica also runs Charity called Little River Community Cupboard.
Food insecurity is not knowing when you are going to have enough food available to not go hungry. In Pinellas county alone, there are 36,000 children that go hungry AND 7,000 of them are chronically hungry and don’t ever know when they will eat.
In Florida there are 4.6 million pounds of food that goes to waste a year. It typically goes to the landfill. Then it creates carbon dioxide as it rots. Worldwide, 6% of global emissions, are from landfills.
The mission of FoodRescueUSis to rescue this food that restaurants, grocery stores and farms are throwing away and bring it to the hungry.
It’s safe to do so due to the Good Samaritan Bill that was passed in 1996.
The Bill Emerson Food Donation Act establishes Federal protection from civil and criminal liability for persons involved in the donation and distribution of food and grocery products to needy individuals when certain criteria are met. In order to receive protection under the Act, a person or gleaner must donate in good faith apparently wholesome food or apparently fit grocery products to a nonprofit organization for ultimate distribution to needy individuals. The Act also provides protection against civil and criminal liability to the nonprofit organizations that receive such donated items in good faith.
All food is collected and distributed among non profit groups, food banks and through “ pop up” set ups in food deserts in the areas.
A “Food deserts” is a geographic area where access to affordable, healthy food options (aka fresh fruits and veggies) is limited or nonexistent because grocery stores are too far away. Poverty contributes to this due to lack of transportation so unhealthy food choices are made. A large-scale longitudinal survey conducted in the US revealed that diabetes risk was approximately 50 % higher among adults in food-insecure households than in food-secure households.
These organizations help the community and often the people that come to get the free food become volunteers to help others.
A true pay it forward.
You WILL make a difference.
Helps you, helps others and helps us all become a better world.
We CAN improve our environment, one decent act at a time.