At The Food Bank, we always talk about the important role that public policy can and must play to level the playing field for everyone and serve to protect the public good. A perfect example of this is a story we always tell visitors who tour The Food Bank warehouse. It goes like this: Back in October 2014, Massachusetts passed a Commercial Food Material Disposal Ban that capped food waste at municipal landfills. By November of that year, Stop and Shop Supermarket reached out to us to establish a “Meat the Need” initiative.
The supermarket chain began donating safe and healthy meats that were frozen at the sell by date instead of disposing of them at local landfills. In turn, volunteers at The Food Bank began inspecting truckloads of meat and sorting them into 30-lbs. boxes of like meats – pork, beef, and chicken – for our member food pantries and meal sites, and direct distribution on our Mobile Food Banks. Big Y World Class Market followed suit soon thereafter.
Fast forward to date, The Food Bank has received 4.5 million lbs. of donated meats for households struggling to put food on their tables. Municipalities no longer incur the cost of receiving food waste, the environment is cleaner, and households facing food insecurity have access to a reliable source of protein-rich food…. A public policy win-win-win!