Kate Thoene & Waste Not: An Innovative Approach to Helping Hunger
Hunger has always been a significant problem. A problem that has been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many Americans are still out of work and we have seen the food bank lines growing over the past few months throughout communities in our country. The lines keep getting longer with no end in sight. The pandemic has wreaked havoc on everything from public health to food insecurity. It is testing families and communities every day, but there is something you can do to help.
Prior to the pandemic, nearly 13 million households faced food insecurity at some point in 2019. Food insecurity is defined as a “lack of consistent access to enough food to maintain an active and healthy life.” Right here at home, 1 in 6 Arizonans faces food insecurity. This means many in our own community have disrupted or reduced food intake and their access to food can hinder their eating patterns. Food insecurity affects children greatly and many rely on school meals which were reduced as education went online. School lunch programs were already struggling to meet the demand of those needing lunches, and the pandemic has only made the situation worse.
While there may be significant reasons for communities facing food insecurity such as living in so-called food deserts, another problem is waste. Each year 40% of fresh food in the United States is sent to landfills. That means 63 million tons of food is wasted each year for reasons like overproduction, lack of transportation resources, confusing labels, and blemished produce that doesn’t meet retailers’ standards. As a result, our communities and the planet pay the price. Waste Not is an innovative nonprofit reimagining food rescues, and this month, we are partnering with Sierra Signs to help Waste Not provide 100,000 meals to food-insecure individuals in our community.
Kay recently spoke with Kate Thoene about her long history working with nonprofits, the food insecurity problem facing Arizonans, and Waste Not’s partnership with Sierra Signs and Charity Charms through the Key to Strength program. They discuss how raising these critical funds will help meet the increasing food waste and hunger needs in the region and how your donation will help families throughout the holiday season and beyond.
About Kate Thoene
Kate Thoene is Executive Director of Waste Not and has worked in the nonprofit sector for over 20 years. In addition to her leadership role at Waste Not she serves on many boards including the Association Board for Big Brothers Big Sisters. Prior to Waste Not, Kate was Social Enterprise and Employment Director at SARRC and created a social enterprise cafe and market called Helpings while at UMOM. Helpings integrate job training programs for those experiencing homelessness. Kate has a passion for helping others and has a long list of accomplishments that have made an impact on our community.
About Waste Not
In Arizona, nearly 1 million people lack consistent access to fresh, nutritious food. Waste Not partners with the community to eliminate food waste and hunger by redistributing crucial food to children, senior citizens, and food banks rather than landfills. Every day, Waste Not collects perishable goods from local businesses like catering companies, resorts, and event venues and delivers it to nonprofits that provide community services. Waste Not actively works to divert food waste and ease the financial burden on our community. Through their innovative approach of solving multiple, interconnected programs, they help nonprofits focus on meeting other critical needs of individuals and families.
Help provide 250 meals to food insecure Arizonans
When you give $50 through Key to Strength, you are providing 250 meals to food-insecure individuals across our community. The need this holiday season is going to be greater than we have seen before, but you can help those in need right now. As our thank you, for each donation you will receive a limited-edition Key to Strength Key Fob to remind you of the impact and strength you have given to our community during this difficult time.
100% of your tax-deductible donation benefits Waste Not directly. You receive your limited edition fob through the amazing support of the campaign sponsor, Sierra Signs.
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