tv Beyond the Headlines ABC July 31, 2016 4:30pm-5:01pm PDT
>> abc7 presents "beyond the headlines" with cheryl jennings. >> welcome to "beyond the headlines." i'm cheryl jennings. you know, communities across the bay area are facing issues of hunger every single day. it affects children, seniors, people with steady jobs, and so many more. according to the five bay area food banks, almost 800,000 people use their services every month. now, overall, these food banks distribute more than 170 million pounds of food to those in need every year. it's interesting to note that more than half of the total pounds of food distributed is actually fresh produce. i am proud to say that abc7's parent company, disney, is committed to fighting hunger. this past year disney donated $1.5 million to the feeding america network of food banks, and this means that each of our local food banks in the
network received $15,000 from disney and abc7 to continue their important efforts. right now we have a local story of a young person making a difference. the city of san jose is teaming up with a south bay teenager to fight hunger. kiran sridhar founded waste no food, a website and an app that lets businesses donate leftover food to charities. the hunger at home has already used the app to help silicon valley companies and restaurants donate 10,000 meals that otherwise would go to the landfill. >> instead of putting a cheese tray out for 500, we deconstruct and put the different components in smaller platters, and when not used and it can't be consumed by team members or by future guests, then it's donated safely. >> now, san jose is the first city to partner with waste no food. hunger is a big problem, sadly, in the wealthy silicon valley. one in four residents lives with hunger. one of those residents is in the studio with me right now, kelly kang. she is a wife, a mother of four,
and their family struggles regularly to make ends meet. kelly, thank you for being here today. >> thank you for having me. >> i really appreciate the fact you're willing to come forward and talk about what's going -- four kids. how old are your kids? >> they're 11, 9, 5, and 2 1/2. >> had to think about that for a minute, right? >> yes. >> and do you have a husband? >> yes. >> and he's unfortunately had a disability, something on the job? >> yes, he was a machinist, and he got hurt on the job, and he hasn't been able to work since. >> so you're carrying the load for everybody right now. >> yes, yes. >> and you've also just moved, so tell me about that. >> yeah, this is kind of stressful. >> it gets hard. >> yes, it's stressful trying to get into place. but we finally got settled in and just trying to deal with that right now. >> yeah, and with all that, with the moving and costs and -- you have one car, right? >> yes, yes. >> for all of you. so, getting around and getting the kids around and getting to your job... >> yeah, i have to take public transit so my husband can take all the kids to school so he has a car available for him. that's what we're gonna have to start doing, yeah. >> now, one of the big reasons
you're able to do what you do is because of food-bank support. >> yes, that's correct. >> so, tell me how that works. >> i've been going to church about a year and a half -- trinity church -- to get the food available for us, and then we pick up the produce, and then we go there, pick all the fresh fruits and vegetables, and then there's also, you know, canned goods and meats, and then once we get that, it helps that we make salads, 'cause it's very expensive to do that, 'cause i currently work at a grocery store, and it's still very expensive to try to get the fresh fruits and vegetables for us. so, once we do that, we bring it home, and that seems to help us out quite a bit. >> and then they get the food from another source. >> yes. second harvest food bank. >> and second harvest is so awesome. i love working with them. they were even kind enough to help you with being here today. >> yes. >> tell us about that. >> yes. actually, susie from trinity church, she actually contacted me and asked me if i'd be willing to do a story, and then caitlin kerk actually
contacted me, and that's how i ended up here today. >> and you got a ride here. >> yes, exactly. >> otherwise you would've had to take the bus. >> [ laughing ] exactly. >> so i'm really grateful that you're here. so, now, fresh fruits are so important, especially with young kids. >> yes. >> and how frustrating for you -- you work at a grocery store and can't really afford to buy the food that you sell to other people. >> yes, exactly. >> so, that's another issue, but the fact that you have the food bank available to you, what does that do for your family? how do you see it changing your family? >> it's exciting for my kids. they get to pick out what they want to eat, and then also i make smoothies for them every day, especially my youngest, my 2 1/2-year-old son. he won't eat vegetables, so i make it as a smoothie, throw some flaxseed in, it helps out tremendously, and we get to eat salads a few times a week, because it's very expensive to do that, too. and then my oldest actually cuts up all her fruit and provides it for them, so that does help. >> and i think a lot of people think that when you're poor that all you eat are starches and cheeses, right, which is not the best thing for you to eat, so
the fact that you're able to have healthy food, especially for growing bodies, they need that for their minds and their bodies. >> yeah, we get a good variety. that makes it really nice, too. definitely. >> do they have some favorites? veggies? >> yes. they actually love to eat salad -- lettuce, tomato, cucumber -- they all love that, and actually two of my daughters love broccoli. so i'm really lucky in that way. so, they like that. they like to pick out the cereal and the bread, so we try to have very -- a lot of variety of foods. >> yeah. and it does make a difference because that means that your family can be normal with all the stresses that you have underway. so, we're almost out of time. what do you want other families to know who might think, "oh, i don't need that" or "i'm too proud. i don't have to do that." what's your advice for them? >> just basically there is food out there. there's help out there. it's hard to ask, but just go there. this church i go to, you don't have to belong to the congregation. just walk up, and they're just so supportive. i think sometimes you just end up forgetting that you're getting that help, so just ask
for it. it's available to you, and it affects your kids if you don't do that. >> right. it does affect your kids. and i think you said a really important thing. don't hold back. don't be shy about it. >> yes. it's hard. it was embarrassing for me. it still is, but the help is out there, and i just think about the kids. >> you just said something really important. it was embarrassing for you. but now -- all the people who want to help you and help your family thrive, it's really remarkable. >> yes. i've had a lot of support and help out there with his family and ours. they've reached out and helped us out, too. >> so we want people who are watching your story at home to give generously to second harvest so that they can help all the agencies in your county. >> yes, definitely. >> thank you so much for being here. >> thank you. >> thank you for sharing your story. >> no problem. >> and best wishes for healthy kids. >> yes, thank you. >> and your husband, too. >> yes, thank you very much. >> all right, kelly. nice to meet you here. >> nice meeting you, too. >> all right, we have a lot more to talk about. when we come back, we're gonna learn about the importance of how fresh produce affects hunger
♪ >> welcome back to "beyond the headlines." i'm cheryl jennings. we're talking about families in need and the value of fresh produce in our hunger-relief efforts. you may not realize it, but most of us throw away more than $1,000 worth of food every year, and you might be even more surprised to know just how much food goes to waste before it ever hits the stores.
as abc7 news anchor reggie aqui explains, wasted food is a national crisis. >> these greens look good enough to eat, until you realize this salad bar is in a dump. we found thousands of pounds of fresh produce heaped high, much of it in store-ready bags. >> this load here by itself was probably close to 10 tons. >> cesar zuniga says the mountain of vegetables is just a fraction of what he sees every day at this waste processing facility in salinas. the salinas valley produces 70% of the country's salad greens. this batch came from dole. >> unfortunately, i'm not surprised. >> dana gunders is the author of the "waste free kitchen handbook," and wrote this report for the national resources defense council with a shocking conclusion. >> across the country, we waste about 40% of all the food that comes into our food supply. >> that includes food waste on farms, those scraps you leave behind in a restaurant, lettuce going bad in your fridge, and
bruised or spoiled food in grocery stores. but that doesn't include produce supermarkets reject. the industry has very specific standards, everything from the size of a banana to the shape of a bell pepper. what doesn't make the cut doesn't make the shelf. >> certainly can't have a big nose like this. >> huge amounts of fruits and vegetables are rejected because they're ugly. >> we basically buy the produce from california farmers that wouldn't normally make it to grocery stores. >> then emeryville-based imperfect foods boxes it up and sells it to you at a big discount. >> so, there's absolutely nothing wrong with these fruits and vegetables. they're basically the same exact quality as normal grocery-store product. they're just shaped a little bit funny. >> the food industry knows it has a problem. >> we were really startled to discover that the single biggest category of what's going into landfills in the u.s. is food. >> the national food waste reduction alliance is bringing together grocery manufacturers, food marketers, and the food
service industry to cut down food waste. one strategy is to recycle more. >> we're actually diverting 93% of our food waste away from landfill. >> but as we found in salinas, there is still plenty of waste. this lettuce looks good. some of it was bagged and ready to go nearly two weeks from expiring. not to mention all the water that was wasted to grow all this food. so why were they thrown away? dole foods wouldn't talk on camera, but in a statement said, "dole disposes of approximately 20,000 pounds weekly at the salinas waste facility," adding that these bags are "samples that we use to monitor product performance and not intended for public consumption." dole's statement didn't address the lettuce not in bags. local food banks want to see more of these greens tossed on a table, not in the trash. >> we'd love to have all that we can get. >> the food waste reduction alliance says it's encouraging members to donate more. >> nobody likes to see food wasted, least of all us because
we don't see that as food waste. we see that as an opportunity to get food for low-income people who need that food. >> reggie aqui, abc7 news. >> amazing, huh? well, in the studio with me right now is keisha nzewi. she is the advocacy manager at the alameda county food bank. and thank you for being here with us today. >> thank you so much for having us. >> there is so much that you're gonna talk about today that i am learning for the first time, and i am just in awe of the work that the food bank does. so, first of all, start with who you serve. >> well, the truth is we serve everyone's neighbor. in alameda county, we are serving one in five of our neighbors every year. >> one in five? >> mm-hmm. that's 20%. >> oh, my gosh. >> which is surprising because we're in such an affluent area. >> right. that's incredible. >> mm-hmm. >> so, one of the things that you did -- and i just learned this today, and i don't know why i don't know this -- but you actually eliminated one kind of beverage. >> yeah. in 2005, our executive director, suzan bateson, made the very
bold move to stop distributing soda. but by doing that, that eliminated a lot of poundage that our food bank was distributing, and at that time, that's how our success was measured. but instead that's when we started to incorporate more fresh fruits and vegetables. so, in 2005, we were able to distribute a million pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables. >> wow! >> and this fiscal year we're on pace to reach nearly 19 million pounds. >> oh, my gosh. how do you get that? i mean, that's a lot of food. >> it's a lot of food. what's probably surprising to a lot of people is that food banks actually purchase most of their food, and although we do receive a lot of donations, of course, our produce we pretty much purchase at about 10 cents per pound. >> now, do you deal with specific farmers? how does that work? >> well, we're so lucky to live in california and not in the frozen tundra, so we have fresh fruits and vegetables available to us year-round from california growers. >> i hope they give you a good deal. >> it's 10 cents a pound. it's better than we get at the grocery store. >> that's true.
that's true. we heard kelly talking about that. >> mm-hmm. >> and the healthy food -- kelly was talking about how important it is for her kids. and have you seen a difference when you change the distribution of the types of food from just canned goods, salty things to fresh food? >> i think people appreciate so much the opportunity to buy foods that are otherwise out of reach for them because of cost, and so, by being able to provide so many fresh fruits and vegetables and other foods that are good for health, it's really important, and it really -- i don't know -- brings a level of equity to communities that otherwise can't access the foods that you and i may take for granted. >> right. and they should have that right to have healthy food every day. >> absolutely. >> so, you get all this -- tons and tons of food -- so, how do you distribute all of that? >> we are -- we have a network of over 200 member agencies, which are both food pantries and soup kitchens, so places that prepare meals or places that give out groceries, and they
acquire their food from us and possibly other sources, and then they distribute it to their community. >> and is there a limit on the amount somebody can take? >> well, with fresh fruits and vegetables, that's unlimited supply to our member agencies. >> nice. >> and once they're distributing it in the community, oftentimes they don't have to put a limit, but, of course, resources are limited, and sometimes they may say people can take so many of this and so many of that. but the great thing is that people can choose and choose the foods that their families enjoy and aren't forced to take whatever is given. >> right. they don't feel like it's a hand-down. >> right. >> all right. the important phone number for people. >> right. so, when people need food, they should call 1-800-870-food, or 3663. >> and in our last few seconds, what's the most important thing people can do at home to help you help people who need food? >> i think that they should donate. every dollar that's donated to alameda county community food bank we're able to purchase $6
worth of food, so their dollar goes a very long way. >> so $10 would buy a lot of food then. >> lots. >> keisha, thank you so much. thank you for the work you're doing, too. >> thank you. >> all right. and we have a lot more to talk about. we're gonna learn about food waste and food rescue and how that affects hunger relief. stay with us. we'll be right back. ♪
>> welcome back to "beyond the headlines." i'm cheryl jennings. you know, a lot of families enjoy big meals during the holidays and big gatherings, and all that food we buy and cook, part of it's gonna end up in the trash. you know that. so how can you keep from throwing away your money? abc news reporter rebecca jarvis has that story. >> in this kitchen, what many restaurants may consider trash is actually headed to the table. >> we were ending up with surplus ingredients. >> saucy by nature, a restaurant in brooklyn, new york, focuses on zero waste. that means when its catering business finishes a wedding or corporate event, the leftover
ingredients go to the restaurant instead of the landfill. >> we don't just have to be driven by money and profit. >> from restaurants to your own refrigerator, americans are throwing out more than 130 billion pounds of food every year. >> 40% of the food that's grown is wasted. >> and it's not just food waste, but wasted money. $371 per person spent on food you end up throwing out. multiply that for a family, and we're talking about thousands of dollars each year. what's worse -- there are still many people who don't have enough. >> one in six americans goes hungry, and so we have this very odd juxtaposition. >> at revive foods in san francisco, the focus is on food rescue, turning overripe or "ugly" fruit that's still perfectly edible into products like jam. >> it's not just a social problem. it's just not an environmental problem. it's not just an economic one. it's all of them.
>> simple steps can help you limit your food waste. when you eat out, ask for smaller portions or share with friends. at home, take stock of what you have before you go grocery shopping, and watch where you store things. keeping onions and potatoes together shortens the shelf life on both. another simple way to save -- check those best-buy labels on your groceries. they aren't hard and fast rules, just recommendations for retailers. for example, on your eggs, the date here means it's still good for another three to five weeks. rebecca jarvis, abc news, new york. >> and here in the studio with me right now from the food bank of contra costa & solano, executive director larry sly. and you have been doing this for so long. it's so nice to see you again. >> nice to see you. >> how many years now? >> it's coming up on 40 years. it's a long time. >> eh, you're just a pup. you're just getting started, right? >> hopefully i'll get it down. >> [ laughing ] maybe some fool will hire you, right? >> yeah, right. >> you started the first -- one of the first food banks back in the '70s. why? why did you do that? >> well, okay.
at that point what we were doing was providing a supplemental assistance. somebody went in to apply for a government assistance program, had forgot to bring their children's birth certificates. they sent them to the local church, where they could get three days worth of food to help get them through until the government assistance programs were available to them. it's been interesting, cheryl, because what we've seen now is we've become part of the network that provides service to people in need because of the access we have to fresh produce, stuff we recover from grocery stores. we are part of the system. we're not just a supplement. we're an integral part of what goes on in the community. >> yeah, but back then, you were just -- what? -- in a parking lot and a truck? one truck? >> exactly. we had a trailer park in a parking lot, two people, and it was an idea, you know. unlike steve jobs, where his thing grew into something a lot bigger, but we've grown into an industry that provides a very essential service to the community. >> and it makes a huge difference. >> very much, very much. >> i think it really speaks to the power of what one person can do. >> yeah. >> if you care and if you have the thought. >> and what we've seen is the growth of food banks throughout the nation because we have become an integral part of the system, saving food from waste,
getting it to people in need, and making a difference for hungry people in our community. >> now, if didn't have what you have and that distribution system, it would be a lot harder to get so many people to give them access. >> completely. i mean, we've really built integral systems based on other volunteer organizations working with us, faith-based organizations. we do a lot of direct-service programs ourselves because of the community support we get. for instance, we have a program called the community produce program that takes fresh fruits and vegetables out in a beverage truck, and we set up a mobile farmers market at 50 sites throughout contra, costa, and solano counties. most of the other food banks in the bay area are doing the same thing as well, and in that way we get the fresh fruits and veggies out to people who need the help. >> i think that's so important because a lot of people, if they're struggling economically, they cannot go drive and they can't afford the stuff at the grocery store. >> we find that more than half the families we serve have a working individual in the family, but they just can't make it because the cost of living is so high. i mean, if you're making $12 an hour, that's not enough to live on in the bay area. >> no, it absolutely isn't. we talked about the story that
we saw there about food waste, and so the question comes up, does food waste cause hunger? >> i think they're sort of parallel universes. if we can save food from waste, we help to deal with hunger, but the issue of hunger is the bigger one that we focus on. we really want to see what we do become a supplement like it was when i originally started. we'd really like to see more people enrolled in the calfresh program, receiving the benefits that are available to them to help provide healthy food to their children. one of the drawbacks to what we have is we only give away what we get, so the family doesn't really have the option to get all the foods that they may necessarily need, so if we have more people getting in the calfresh program and what we do can supplement that, it's gonna be the best thing for low-income people in our community. >> you're talking about calfresh and i was remembering what kelly said earlier about how she was embarrassed to reach out for help, but her kids and her disabled husband were so much more important so she had to overcome that. so is that a big problem to get people to you? >> yeah, i think that's a big problem, and part of what we do is outreach. all the food banks in the bay area are doing outreach to try and educate people that food
stamps, calfresh is the first response to hunger in our community, and it's what the government really can do to help people in need get the food that's really necessary to them. so, yeah, we really don't want people to be embarrassed. we want people to get the food their children need. >> so how does it work? >> people go down, they enroll, they can come in with a -- talk to a calfresh outreach worker. they can help them prepare their application so that when they go to the county office to actually apply, it should be an easy process they go through, and then they start to receive benefits, and they'll actually get an atm card that they can use in the grocery store that allows them to buy the healthy food that they need to provide for their children. >> do they need documentation? >> there's certain documentation, but that's what our outreach worker helps them understand -- what they need to have in the way of birth certificates, income verification, the kinds of things that the county office needs to deal with, and we try to make it as easy as possible for them so that they go through and get the benefits that their children need. >> so, before we wrap up -- we have just a few more seconds -- do you need volunteers, and how important are donations? >> both are critical.
we really demand -- we demand -- we ask that people give us food donations during the holiday season. that's critical to us. we need volunteers. we had over 90,000 hours of volunteer time given to our food bank last year. that makes a big difference in the amount that we're able to do. but money -- money is critical. as keisha said, we really need money to pay for the gas for our trucks, to pay for the food that we acquire, so we need the community support in order to make it work. we're very effective with every dollar that we get. more people are fed because of the efficiencies that food banks have, so we hope that people will invest in our work. >> and we hope they will, too, and that's why we're here, so thank you so much. appreciate it. >> appreciate your guys' help at abc7. >> any time. that is it, unfortunately, for today's show, but we have a lot more information for you about today's special and some resources where you live. just go to our website, abc7news.com/community. and we're on facebook at at abc7 community affairs, and please follow me on twitter -- cherylabc7. i'm cheryl jennings. have a great week. we'll see you next time.
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