By now you are probably tired of those creative recipes for turkey leftovers. This year dinner was courtesy of my employer as it was my turn to work the holiday. Now before you start feeling sorry for me, let me assure you that I really need to do this once in a while. It keeps me present.
Ordinarily, when I identify food insecurity while working with my clients I discreetly direct them to our neighborhood food pantry. And I routinely make donations to agencies whose mission it is to assist those in need. Maybe you do, too. Very sanitary.
Hunger is present in the United States every day of the year. One-in-six Americans suffer some degree of food insecurity, most of them are children. Many are employed and could actually be someone that you see at work every day. Today I am reminded of an important lesson learned from Doug Rauch, keynote speaker at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics FNCE 2015.
Doug Rauch is retired from a 30 year employment history with Trader Joe’s grocery, 14 of those years as President/CEO. He has taken his experience in the world of grocery sales and created a non-profit model that can do much more to help marginalized individuals and families than any food pantry could hope to accomplish.
First some background facts that support his project:
1) calories are cheap, nutrients are $$. Obesity does exist in the face of hunger.
2) food waste = wasted food. 30-40% of all food grown is never consumed. Crops are plowed under if produce is not a standard size for harvesting machinery.
3) Sell by/ use by dates are not expiration dates (except in baby formula).
4) most systems created to tackle hunger don’t do a good job with promoting dignity.
So Mr. Rauch has created a grocery store using donations, and buying produce that would otherwise be plowed under or tossed out, in Dorchester, MA. The Daily Table is conveniently located near a bus stop and is open later to accommodate working adults. He quickly found out that his patrons often don’t have much time to cook either, so grab and go meals are freshly prepared in the on-site kitchen behind a large glass window. Transparency is important to consumers, and so is good taste along with affordability. Families can purchase entire meals that fit within the SNAP allowance.
Doug has set the bar and I believe that he challenges us to look for ways that we,too, can make a difference in our communities. As I move closer to my own retirement I am rethinking how I would like to spend my “golden” years. Maybe by then “Daily Table” will be a franchise opportunity because hunger will always be with us. http://ow.ly/i/eOYRd http://ow.ly/i/eOZKn