Food Waste Weekend - Thou Shall Not Waste Food

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Religious Leaders of All Faiths - Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Others - to Give Sermons on Food Waste and Hunger the Weekend of September 21-23, 2018

70% of America’s food pantries are located in houses of worship, faith leaders are critical partners in helping get that excess food to hungry families.

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Food Waste Weekend, a faith-based initiative where religious leaders deliver sermons on food waste and hunger in America, will take place the weekend of September 21-23, 2018. Clergy of all faiths will deliver from their pulpits messages on the moral responsibility to avoid food waste and alternative options for combating hunger in their communities. Food Waste Weekend was launched in 2016 as an education and awareness program of AmpleHarvest.org, a nationwide food waste solution, to help the faith community shift its focus from ‘feeding the hungry’ to ‘ending hunger’.

“Over the past 11 years, an increasing number of food industry leaders, nonprofits, government officials and others have been tackling the issue of food waste in America. One critical group – the faith community – has been largely absent from the conversation, until now,” said AmpleHarvest.org’s Founder and Executive Director Gary Oppenheimer. “Since 70% of America’s food pantries are located in houses of worship, faith leaders are critical partners in helping get that excess food to hungry families. We knew we should invite clergy of all religions to learn, and then speak from their own faith perspectives, about food waste.”

Clergy nationwide are enthusiastic about the opportunities of this third annual event. Rev. Jacob Bolton of New York noted that “Food Waste Weekend addresses the complex, global issue of food waste and overconsumption, with tangible, local, and ‘spiritually cultivating’ practices that any faith community can undertake. The possibilities surrounding the weekend are sundry and full of hope. This is the invitation faith communities have been looking for.” Rabbi Joshua Ratner from Connecticut echoed his sentiments, "I think this is a fantastic opportunity for people of all faiths to actualize the biblical injunction to share the gleanings of our fields with those in need. Donating our food surplus, rather than throwing it away, reinforces the conservationist ethic that is a part of all religious traditions. I hope houses of worship of all faiths will participate.”

Food Waste Weekend strives to educate religious leaders about the issue of food waste, and then give them the tools they need to share the issue with their congregations. General and detailed information about food waste, faith-specific sample sermons, a game show for their religious school, newsletter bulletins and more are available to clergy on FoodWasteWeekend.org. Religious leaders may select a number of ‘calls to action’ based on the type of engagement their congregants will be most responsive to. Examples include finding a nearby food pantry at AmpleHarvest.org that is eager for excess garden produce, using shopping lists to reduce the impulse to buy food that may not be consumed, or even helping employers find ways to reduce food waste in the office or cafeteria. Rev. Ben Collins of Florida states, “Pastoring a congregation with a deep social conscience means issues like hunger, waste, and environmental impact are front and center. They are integral not only to religion, but humanity, which we believe makes the responsibility profoundly sacred.”

Food Waste Weekend materials at FoodWasteWeekend.org were specifically developed for Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu and Unitarian-Universalist communities, and other faiths are welcome to adapt them for their use. Clergy are urged to mark September 21-23 on their calendars to give sermons on food waste and further discussions about how reducing food waste can help congregations follow their faith traditions, save money at the grocery store and help improve the health of both themselves and the wider community. Through AmpleHarvest.org, the key beneficiaries of Food Waste Weekend will be food pantries nationwide that will receive food, especially locally grown food, that otherwise would have been lost to waste.

About AmpleHarvest.org:
AmpleHarvest.org, Inc. is a not-for-profit 501c3 organization which works to diminish food waste and hunger in America by educating, encouraging and empowering growers to easily find a local food bank eager to receive the excess garden bounty. Follow AmpleHarvest.org on Twitter and Facebook. For more information, visit AmpleHarvest.org/presskit or call AMPLE-6-9880 (267-536-9880).

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Jamie McCarthy
@AmpleHarvest
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