Food insecurity affects nearly 50 million people in America. One in six Boston residents struggles with hunger. LONGWOOD’s Vice President of Culinary Arts & Development Chef David Blessing raises awareness about leftover event food donations that provide much-needed meals to the community. The idea came from New England Chapter of the National Association for Catering and Events Feeding Our Neighbors initiative.
On October 20, 2015, Chef David addressed an audience of 250 event planners and designers at the Marketing to High End Bride XX celebration held at the State Room in Boston. Our industry has so much to offer through post-event food donations! Video by Generations Cinemastories.
Chef David believes that being a chef comes with a responsibility to feed people and to not waste food. He feels it is our industry’s duty to elevate hunger in our communities.
“We live in a society of great wealth and prosperity. We are blessed to have food on our plates. We are surrounded by more food than we can consume. The least we can do, as humans, is to help others who cannot afford to eat three meals a day. It’s tragic that there are still people who have nothing – next door to us.”
Food waste in the catering and event industry is one of the most recognizable areas of food loss in America. One-third of the world’s food goes uneaten every year, and 40% of all prepared food in America ends up in landfills.
Throughout his career, Chef David noticed this waste and knew many event professionals wanted to do something about it, but there was always a concern about donor liability, leaving venues and caterers feeling they had no choice but to throw food in the trash.
THE BILL EMERSON GOOD SAMARITAN FOOD DONATION ACT
The reality, however, is that the federal government protects food donors from any liability. The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act was signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996 and protects all good-faith donors from any and all, civil and criminal liability, in the donation of event food. It creates an umbrella of protection to all individuals, corporations, venues, caterers, and food rescue operations, with state laws such as the Massachusetts’ Good Samaritan Law providing yet another layer of protection.
But even though state and federal laws have been in place for more than a decade to protect businesses and individuals, people are still worried — or worse yet, not even aware of the protections that exist. To this day, Massachusetts companies throw away thousands of pounds of wholesome food that could instead be feeding hungry people.
FEEDING OUR NEIGHBORS INITIATIVE
A concerned group of members of the New England chapter of the National Association of Catering and Events (NENACE) joined in 2011 to create a solution to the thousands of pounds of event food wasted and to promote an industry-wide education regarding the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act.
Over the past four years, Feeding Our Neighbors has set up several partnerships with caterers, venues, event planners, and food rescue operations to facilitate the regular donation of unserved event food to those in need. The goal is to see event food donations become a best practice for the community and the industry at large.
LONGWOOD is proud to be a participating member of the NENACE Feeding Our Neighbors initiative. In case of excess food from your event, we will make all the arrangements and take care of all the details as well as procure a food donation receipt should you wish to have it recorded as a tax deductible donation.