November 22, 2011
Every November, food donation boxes in offices, stores and schools fill with shelf-stable food. But as much as half of it may never be used, says Katherina Rosqueta of the University of Pennsylvania’s Center For High Impact Philanthropy. She says it’s time to can food drives and donate cash instead.
NEAL CONAN, HOST: Over the past few weeks, donation boxes in offices, stores and schools have been filling up with cans of vegetables and boxes of mac and cheese, food that often comes from people’s cupboards and is intended to help the poor celebrate Thanksgiving. Katherina Rosqueta of the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for High Impact Philanthropy argues that as much as half of that food may never be used and that millions go hungry. In an op-ed for the Albany Times Union, she says it’s time to can food drives.
CONAN: And you say for the same amount of money spent on buying cans for a food drive, donors can feed 20 times more families by providing cash as opposed to cans.
ROSQUETA: That’s absolutely right. One of the things that we have available to us now in the United States, is actually a surplus of food. That surplus, when it gets donated to food banks, can then be made available to local pantries and soup kitchens around the country. And because these are either donated food or food that is purchased by the network of food banks at wholesale prices, the same $10 that you would spend to, say, get three cans of food, could actually buy retail value 20 times more food. And that can be the difference between just providing enough for lunch for a couple of people to actually feeding a family of four for a week.
Listen to the story and read the transcript on NPR’s website.