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Don't Waste Food!

How many times I have seen a company or organisation habitually waste good food?! Too many times!

They are well-meaning people, and they'd like to give away the food instead of wasting it by putting it in the dustbin. They'd maybe like to give the food to the needy or the poor, and there's probably a few beggars just along the road if anyone was kind enough to go along and see if they are hungry.

So why don't they do it? Reason: Too many stupid rules! Just as surely as there's no pig bin anymore for food to be recycled as pork (because of various illconceived ideas about the health of pigs if they eat other people's sunday lunches and leftovers), there's no "well let's give it to the beggars!".

Apparently, beggars can in theory take the company to court if they are made ill by the food. Not that they are seriously going to be made ill by perfectly good food, and not that most beggars have the money to start a legal case.

What I do when I'm at these snazzy highfalutin' conferences is I take along a collection of old supermarket bags and after the meeting I collect up all the food that would otherwise be wasted, and then I go around the streets and see if I can spot any beggars. If I see a beggar I go along and say "Hello! Are you hungry?" and, generally if the beggar doesn't smell too strongly of alcohol, the answer is "YES! I'm very hungry", at which point they are presented with a good sized helping of the posh food from the meeting. I'm thanked, and then I'm off into the distance, with no hope of comeback. (Genuine cases will often scoff the food, even if it's a huge slice of chocolate spongecake, thus signifying a "direct hit").

I suggest to organisations and companies who waste food that they should reconsider. Don't waste food when half the world is starving! OK, it's hard to deliver a case of curled-up sandwiches to Ethiopia, but at least get some kind soul to go along to make the delivery to a needy beggar just along the road. The trick is to get the individual doing the humanitarian delivery of unwanted food to not wear the company hat. They are a freelance deliverer, and in no way represent the company during their doing of the good deed. No names are mentioned, and after the donation, no correspondence is entered into. It's as easy as that. I don't even care if the benefactors have to wear masks! There is no way a beggar is going to convince a solicitor to sue an anonymous person who denies all knowledge of the event, is there?!

Anyway, don't waste food! If you can't feed the starving, feed poor people and beggars. If you can't feed beggars, just feed anyone. I used to feed my neighbours with stuff I had snaffled from the mental hospital to prevent the stuff being wasted. But when the authorities (vogons) clamped down on this, I made a big speech in front of the nurses and patients and then I walked out, never to return until they had got a more sensible food policy sorted out!

Spread the word! If you are a member of an organisation that wastes perfectly good food, get them to be sensible about it. Lobby them, and if necessary take unused food out on a tray and see how grateful the local beggars are! Put food-wasters to shame, and point out other organisations who are willing to take risks if necessary rather than see people starve.

Bad planning by governments and the overproliferation of a litigious society are responsible for this social outrage. Don't let them get away with it!

Other points: It's far better to give food to beggars than to give money. Money might go on a bottle of scotch, or even meths, whereas the food, they'll just eat it. Other types of beggars, who just want the money, will generally more or less politely refuse the offer of food. However, they may be able to point you to other beggars who are in need of food. Always ask "Are you hungry?" before giving out food. It is extremely annoying if they just grab the packet of biscuits and then demand money. You might as well have given the biscuits to the pigeons*. Instead, asking "Are you hungry?" prevents this.

*PIGEONS?! Anyway, Why do you never see baby pigeons?

Another thing, Supermarkets, who generally waste huge amounts of food, mostly because of the silly Best Before rules, often consider they can't give away the food to people. However, I have heard a good alternative is to donate the waste food to the ZOO!

Other references: Food, Waste, Ecology, Charity