Blogs > Laura Kessel's blog

Laura Kessel is managing editor of The News-Herald in Willoughby. She writes a weekly column and shares her thoughts here.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Wasting food isn’t all it’s stacked up to be

I’ve never been all that neat.

Ever since I was little, I’ve been what you’d call a “stacker.” Rather than take a few seconds to put things away where they need to go, I drop them in the general area and figure I’ll eventually go back and straighten it up.

The problem with my method is sometimes it takes days to get back.

Or weeks.

The other day, after walking over a pile of clothes that I’d worn to work for what I’d probably have described as “a couple of days” and hearing a few plastic hangers crack, I could put it off no longer.

Two hours later, after hanging up 10 jackets and piling up 15 sweaters, I vowed not to let it happen again. But in about six weeks, more hangers will be sacrificed before I clean up again.

That same stacking happens other places in the house, too. Magazines, discount offers and pieces of junk mail get stacked on the kitchen counter after they’re brought in from the mailbox. Hey, someday I might want that coupon for $10 off gutter cleaning. You just never know.

As bad as that is, the refrigerator is worse.

After eating our way through the front layer, we’re quite often throwing out the now moldy or spoiled stuff hiding in back.

I’ve attempted to develop a system to organize it all, but it’s never caught on.
But, I’m not alone.

At least that’s according to Jonathan Bloom, author of “American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half Its Food (And What We Can Do About It).”

Bloom says that Americans waste about 40 percent of the food that is produced each year.
I’m a good example of how it happens. And, admittedly, it’s shameful.

Each and every time I toss out food that has sat around long enough to become spoiled, I think of my experience on the Food Stamp Diet.

That week eating on $21 taught me the value of planning and finding bargains and that many people are not as lucky as I.

I’m able to go to the grocery store each week and buy food that, as it turns out, I might not even eat.

Many of those who live around me — and you — are not that lucky. They pinch pennies to buy macaroni and skip meals because there isn’t enough to feed both them and their children.

That’s where Bloom becomes important.

His blog, found at, offers sensible tips to avoid making the types of mistakes I make every week — buying too much and improperly storing it.

I’m not sure all mothers used the phrase mine did in response to my refusal to eat what she served for dinner.
“There are starving kids in Africa.”

And, 30 years later, it’s still true. But as we’re becoming all too aware, there also are starving people here in America who need our help.

And, there’s help to be had in my massive stacks of food.

You can help out, too.

Instead of overbuying and then wasting what you’re already piling up in your house, why not donate it to Harvest for Hunger/Feed Lake County, where it’s guaranteed to be used.

The annual Northeast Ohio food drive has a few more weeks to run and needs your help.

Area hunger groups can feed more with a cash donation, but your canned or boxed food gifts won’t go to waste.

If you’re at Giant Eagle, Heinen’s, Dave’s or another participating retailer, use the handy coupons at the checkout to guarantee food reaches certified pantries in Lake and Geauga counties.

If you live in Lake County, you also can send donations to United Way of Lake County, 9285 Progress Parkway, Mentor OH 44060, with checks written out to Feed Lake County.

Don’t let it go to waste.

Give it to those who need it the most.



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home