JUDY WOODRUFF: Believe it or not, Americans
altogether throw away about 150,000 tons of food every day. That is about one pound of food per person. It is a staggering figure, considering nearly
13 percent of this country’s population experiences food insecurity. As Cristina Quinn from PBS station WGBH reports,
Boston-area college students are trying to help close the food insecurity gap. CRISTINA QUINN: Lunch just ended inside Harvard’s
Annenberg Hall. And there’s still a lot of food left, but
these students are marking sure none of it will go to waste. Each week, they help package 1,200 pounds
of leftovers into microwaveable frozen meals. Environmental studies major Motoy Kuno-Lewis
got involved because decaying food creates methane gas, one of the leading causes of
climate change. But, of course, there’s another reason to
do this. MOTOY KUNO-LEWIS, Student: Food insecurity
is an issue, and it’s a very pertinent issue even in an area like Cambridge. CRISTINA QUINN: The meals are delivered to
other schools, like MassBay Community College in Wellesley, where over half the school’s
population experiences some form of food insecurity. MAXWELL MORRONGIELLO, Student: So that could
mean, you know, people aren’t getting enough — simply aren’t able to afford food. That could mean that people aren’t able to
afford healthy foods. CRISTINA QUINN: Maxwell Morrongiello is on
the student government’s Food Insecurity Committee ,and he also grabs a meal for himself a couple
times a month. MAXWELL MORRONGIELLO: So, just in terms of
me being able to make ends meet, it’s been helpful. I haven’t really suffered from hunger. There’s people here who are hungry. And you know that they really don’t have access
to food at all. And it’s very important that they have access
to that. CRISTINA QUINN: Students can swing by four
days a week and pick up frozen meals free of charge, no questions asked. Food for Free, a food rescue group based in
Cambridge, launched this program. Executive director Sasha Purpura hopes to
make it a model other schools and companies will adopt. SASHA PURPURA, Executive Director, Food for
Free: So this is something that a university in Western Mass., in Worcester, a corporation
could do. It enables them not only to stop throwing
out perfectly good food. It lets them engage their student population,
their employee population in group volunteering activities, giving back to their community. CRISTINA QUINN: Tufts University students
also package meals and are among a dozen organizations in the Boston area that donate their unserved
food, including Brigham and Women’s Hospital. This allows Food for Free to churn out over
1,000 meals a week. They deliver these meals to Bunker Hill and
North Shore community colleges, in addition to some elementary schools and food pantries. But there’s more work to do. SASHA PURPURA: It’s insane. We are throwing away tremendous amounts of
food every day. And there are people next door a block away
that aren’t getting enough food. CRISTINA QUINN: A hunger gap that these folks
are helping to close. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Cristina Quinn
in Cambridge, Massachusetts. JUDY WOODRUFF: Love to hear these stories.