Local nonprofit launches fundraiser to reduce food waste and feed those in needJun 30, 2023 12:55PM ● By Collette Hayes
Waste Less Solutions has been creative in finding ways to use collected perishable food items. The organization rents kitchen space from Southeast Christian Church and uses it to provide community cooking classes and to prepare meals to be delivered to nonprofit organizations. (Photo credit Dana Williamson, Waste Less Solutions)
Waste Less Solutions, a Holladay-based nonprofit organization, launched a GoFundMe fundraising campaign May 15 to continue their efforts to reduce food waste and to feed those in need in Utah.
The organization, which is dedicated to the education, prevention and diversion of food waste in Utah, has seen exponential growth since its official founding in 2018. The demand for services is far exceeding the nonprofits capacity to deliver services.
“I launched Waste Less Solutions as a way to make the planet, and Utah, better for my daughter,” said Dana Williamson, founder and president. “But this movement has grown so much bigger than us. We’ve fed thousands of people and saved millions of pounds of fresh food from going into the landfill. The GoFundMe campaign will help us feed even more Utahns. We do not lack food; we lack the ability to distribute the excess food we produce. Waste Less Solutions is dedicated to solving this problem.”
According to Williamson, in Utah there is approximately 600,000 tons of fresh food that goes uneaten every year and approximately 400,000 people going hungry. If surplus edible food were distributed to those in need, it would provide three meals a day for food insecure individuals and families for 18 months. There are environmental benefits as well for keeping edible food out of our landfills. Reducing and preventing food waste is crucial in keeping methane gas out of the environment. Food loss and waste exacerbates the climate change crisis with its significant greenhouse gas footprint.
“I have always been passionate about our environment, food and education,” Williamson said. “I began to research ways I could make a positive difference in these areas. It was then I realized how bad food waste is for the environment. We are all talking about how harmful plastic and carbon dioxide from our cars is for the environment when there should be more conversation going on about food waste. To date we have rescued and distributed over 1.6-million pounds of food—the equivalent of 1.4-million meals to 70 Utah nonprofit partners.”
Waste Less Solutions is a 100% volunteer-based organization. Over 600 volunteers use their own cars and are provided with an app, already developed and shared by other food rescue organizations, to track and document food rescue. The volunteer rescues edible food from donors such as cafeterias, restaurants, food distributors, grocery stores, farmers markets and gardens and then delivers the food to agencies that will distribute the food to those with food insecurities.
“What I love about our organization is we are able to save perishable food that a lot of organizations struggle to save,” Williamson said. “We are providing healthy food to individuals that typically can’t afford it and also to those reliant on food donations. Our rescued food goes to 100 local nonprofits, which helps them support interpersonal, violence survivors and their children, low-income families, Utahns experiencing medical crises, and much more.”
Waste Less Solutions has been creative in finding ways to use collected perishable food items. The organization rents kitchen space from Southeast Christian Church and uses it to provide community cooking classes on how to efficiently use meal leftovers. Also, food donations such as dairy and meat products are made into prepared meals at the location and then delivered to nonprofit organizations.
Garden Share is a community garden program sponsored by Waste Less Solutions to reduce food waste in home gardens. Arrangements can be made through the organizations website to donate excess garden produce. A food rescuer will come to the share site for pick up and then deliver it to a nonprofit for distribution. Garden Share site volunteer opportunities are also available for those that would like to sign up to host a garden share cooler.
For more information about available volunteer opportunities or to make a donation to Waste Less Solutions visit: www.wastelesssolutions.org.λ