Feeding 5000.


Food is something that all of us interact with on a daily basis. Through our taste buds, in our thoughts, the wafting of dinner through the apartment.

Most of us reading this blog have plenty. In fact, many of us have too much food. Each year, American’s throw away 40% of the food they buy! However, there are so many in the world and in our communities, who don’t have enough and the level of disparity is hard to swallow.


When Daniel spent the day as a homeless person last month, I expected him to come back with something. For the 12 hours he was in the city, no walker-byer offered him a single thing.  The one meal he received that day, he had to “work” to get.  He walked over 10 miles for a jar of peanut butter and an apple from a community food pantry. The amount of gratitude that both he, and I, felt from those items is immense. But what I am trying to say is, we may think that the homeless and the hungry are getting handouts left and right, I’m not so sure that is true.

Feeding the hungry is something that Daniel and I are both passionate about. We always try to have food on hand to give away, but have also been curious to learn more about what others are doing to help. So as we have traveled, we have tried to volunteer with organizations that are feeding people.

So far we have had the opportunity to work with 4 community gardens in Montreal, DC, Oregon, and Montana. First of all, I just love gardens and learning about how our food is created. Second, I love the mission to provide fresh vegetables for those in need. Two weeks ago in Eugene, Oregon, we were able to harvest about 50 pounds of Spinach for the local food bank.

Another effort in feeding the hungry that I recently learned more about is similar to gleaning or passing on extra food to the poor. In Vancouver, Kitchen on a Mission, connects people who have a vehicle to a shelter and restaurants with excess food. We picked up 70 pounds of bread and drove it across town to a men’s shelter.

While we haven’t yet achieved our feeding 5,000 goal for the year, we are gaining on it. To date we’ve served a meal to 1,852 human beings, in the following forms and fashions:

  • 192 at a church in Cincinnati, OH
  • 500 brown bag meals with the SOMsistahs in South Florida
  • 450 Thanksgiving Meals At Branches in Miami
  • 250 Thanksgiving meals packed on the Pan Handle of Florida
  • 123 with community gardens in Montreal, Great Falls, Wolf Trap, and Eugene
  • 181 homeless goodie bags given out all across the US and Canada
  • 70 Kitchen on a Mission in Vancouver
  • 86 meals delivered through Meals on Wheels in Montana

I would love to hear your stories and experiences with reducing food waste and feeding the hungry.  Please share with me in an email or in the comments section below.

Be well. LOVE.


1 thought on “Feeding 5000.

  1. 41 years ago I began recycling garbage. I don’t know if we helped invent dumpster diving, but David and I were the first ones I ever knew to do it. Here’s the story.

    My friend, David Wroughton, and I were born entrepreneurs. My lawn mowing business in high school was a good start and we took it to the next level in college in the form of a janitorial service that David and I owned.

    One night as we were cleaning up a commercial enterprise, we got a bright idea, “What would we find if we looked through the garbage at a restaurant?”
    So we went behind a seafood restaurant we liked. Photo by Mike Sheehan

    What we found was a lot of food, but on the whole, it was pretty gross. Not anything you’d want to eat. So then we thought, “What about at the local grocery store? What do they throw out?”

    We drove over to the Jewel Grocery Store and what we found in the garbage bins blew us away. It was all still in its packages, thrown out because its date had expired, but still quite edible. We loaded up the car and began an illustrious career as dumpster divers.

    Some nights were better than others, but you could almost always count on finding something. Once we found over $200 worth of frozen shrimp. Usually there were loaves of day-old bread. Sometimes we’d drive away with our car packed to the gills with food. On one occasion we found stacks and stacks of eggs – hundreds of them still in their cartons. Some nights when the haul was great, you returned home feeling like a triumphant conquistador.

    For those of us trying to live cheaply at Wheaton College, dumpster diving was a gift. We fed our house of six and a number of other students as well.

    It was also an adventure. You never knew who you might encounter as you scrounged in the dumpster – often policemen came cruising by and waved at us. Once word got out about the sort of treasures you could find for free, we had competition from other students.

    Of course the world caught up with us. I’m told that these days it’s hard to find the kind of food hauls we used to encounter. Afraid of law suits, some stores got fancy trash compactors. But garbage is still a thriving source of livelihood around the world. Everywhere our mission teams go, they minister to those who pick through garbage dumps for scraps. Some people look down their noses at their stinky jobs. I prefer to think of them as guerrilla activists in the green movement – retroactive recyclers keeping the planet clean.

    Hard times force people to do what God has always blessed – gleaning is in the Bible, even the disciples did it. Waste not, want not.

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