Definitions and Services

Why are they needed?

According to the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) 2004 Household Food Security Report, nearly 650,000 Missourians experience food insecurity – approximately a third of them also experience hunger. This means that their access to enough food is limited by a lack of money and other resources.

A 1997 study by the Midwest Assistance Program funded by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Solid Waste Management Program, found that food accounted for 18.7% or over 1,033,000 tons of waste disposed in Missouri landfills.

A study by the Community Childhood Hunger Identification Project reports that most low-income families must receive food assistance from several sources, relying on Federal food assistance programs as well as emergency food programs. Even with Federal assistance and the work of charities and nonprofit organizations, nearly 20 percent of the requests for emergency food assistance go unmet.

In a study by the USDA for the period ending December 2002, it was reported that 34.9 million people in U.S. households were food insecure, with 13.1 million of them being children. The data showed that 11.1 percent of U.S. households reported that at some time during the year they were uncertain of having, or were unable to acquire, adequate food to meet their basic needs. Of these, about 3.8 million households were food insecure to the extent that one or more household members went hungry at least some time during the year.

Yet, it is estimated that approximately one-fourth of America's food goes to waste each year, with an estimated 96 billion pounds of food ending up in landfills. Millions of people could have benefited from those lost resources.

back to top

What is food recovery?

The four most common methods of food recovery are:

back to top

Services available - Food Banks, Food Pantries and Soup Kitchens

In addition to perishable and non-perishable commercial foods donated by retailers, manufacturers, food service establishments, etc., many of the agencies listed in this booklet distribute USDA commodities made available through the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). Under TEFAP, commodity foods are distributed to organizations (i.e., soup kitchens) in the state that use them in congregate feeding facilities for the needy, including the homeless, and to organizations (i.e., food pantries) that provide them to eligible households for home consumption.

To be eligible to take commodities home, households must meet established income requirements or participate in another government program such as Food Stamps, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI); Medicaid, or reside in public housing. There are many worthwhile organizations, not included in this booklet, that provide food assistance directly to the needy. Contact the local food bank to find the location of a food pantry or soup kitchen in your area. To obtain contact information go to the Second Harvest website and enter your Zip Code where it says "Find your local food bank or food rescue organization."

back to top

How you can help

The operation of a good food recovery program is three-fold:

There are various ways to get involved in the fight against hunger and demonstrate commitment to the community.

Food Service Professionals

Nonprofit Organizations

Youth Service Groups and Volunteer Organizations

Individual Citizens

Businesses and Corporations

back to top