Partnership Mobilizes Health Care Sector to Feed Hungry

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Posted: Tuesday, June 7, 2016 9:42 pm | Updated: 12:40 pm, Wed Jun 8, 2016.

RESTON, Va. -- Practice Greenhealth and Feeding America announced a new collaboration to help Americans living at risk of hunger. The nation’s largest domestic hunger relief organization and leading health care sustainability membership organization have created a nationwide program to donate excess food from hospitals and health care facilities to local food banks.

More than 48 million Americans are food insecure, according to the USDA.

"Building upon its commitment to improve the health of patients, staff and communities, Practice Greenhealth is teaming up with Feeding America to reduce food overproduction and waste and encourage healthy food consumption, especially among those who need it most," said Gary Cohen, President and Founder of Practice Greenhealth. "Hospitals supply a tremendous amount of safe, nutrient-rich food every day, and keeping it from going to waste, from ending up in landfills, is a moral, social, and environmental imperative."

Feeding America provides food and groceries to 46 million Americans, including 15 million children and seven million seniors. Because hospitals are located in every community in America, large and small, rural and urban, they can play a significant role in feeding the hungry and protecting the environment from methane gas in landfills, a greenhouse gas that is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide in a 20-year period according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Halving global wasted food by 2050 could reduce GHG emissions by an estimated 4.5 Gt.

"Feeding America is extremely grateful to Practice Greenhealth for joining us in the efforts to help provide food to the millions of Americans who live at risk of hunger while also reducing food waste. We look forward to working closely with them," said Bill Thomas, Chief Supply Chain Officer of Feeding America.

More than 70 billion pounds of food go to waste in this country each year. The Feeding America network of food banks of 200 food banks rescued 2.6 billion pounds of safe and nutritious food in 2015 that would otherwise have been discarded. Feeding America will provide nearly 4 billion meals to low-income Americans this year, which is distributed through 60,000 food pantries meal programs.

"Through Feeding America’s online interface, together we will be able to measure, as a health care community, how many pounds of food are donated through this partnership," said Cohen. To further raise awareness about food waste reduction and management among hospitals, Practice Greenhealth is launching 'Less Food to Landfill' toolkit to their more than 1,200 hospital members nationwide, including a set of goals to set and measure against, a 'get-started' guide, a five-part virtual peer learning series, case studies, posters, templates and presentations for members to use in achieving their goals.

SOURCE: Practice Greenhealth

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