We all hope to have that moment when something clicks in us and our purpose is made clear.
For me, it actually happened on a sweltering day in the heat of July 2015. The day started just as insignificantly as any other. I had gone over to my old college friend’s house to reconnect with her.
She was one of those people who just seemed to breathe success. You know the ones. She was beautiful, she travelled frequently, she made a lucrative career for herself as a celebrity makeup artist, she married the love of her life, and she had a healthy two-year-old and another child on the way. Now that she and her husband had made the move from NYC to Atlanta, I was finally getting the chance to catch up with my friend and hear all about her fabulous life in person.
As we sat down, she offered me a glass of water. When she opened her refrigerator door, everything changed for me. Instantly, I saw that there was no food in her refrigerator. She saw the look on my face and burst into tears.
She told me that while she tried to keep food on the table and snacks in her house for her child, oftentimes she simply just wasn’t able to.
This was a woman who had beaten all the odds. She was well educated. She had a successful career. She was my friend.
She had simply fallen on hard times.
That’s when hunger became personal to me. When I realized that it isn’t just people in faraway lands who are suffering, but people in our own communities.
Here’s the truth:
One in seven people go to bed hungry. That means that, statistically speaking, someone that you know, your neighbor, your friend, your cousin, is going to bed with an empty stomach.
From there, I started Sunday Soul, an event for hungry people in Atlanta to come and get some good soul food to the backdrop of R&B classics from the likes of Al Green and James Brown. Sunday Soul was great, but I couldn’t help feeling like I could do more.
I did some research and found that 72 billion pounds of unused food end up in landfills each year. How could so many people be going to bed wondering where their next meal would come from while food was just going to waste all over the country?
That’s when I realized that hunger isn’t a scarcity issue. It’s a logistical one.
And that’s when Goodr was born. We started out as just a way to get food to the people who needed it most. But over the past two years, the company I founded has grown into one that not only gives back but also helps the companies who donate food to us make money as well.
In 2018, we partnered with the busiest airport in the world, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Within six months, we were able to reduce their waste by 47 percent. Together, we diverted 85,000 pounds of surplus food from landfills, converted it to 82,000 meals, and enabled the airport to claim an estimated $200,000 in tax savings.
Now, Goodr is giving back and creating revenue for the companies who partner with us. All because one of my friends was brave enough to say that she needed help and I took the time to see the need around me.
I say all of this to challenge you. Where is there a need in your community? Will you pause from your busy schedule to see what you can do? Will you volunteer at a local soup kitchen? They do a good job of coordinating volunteers and have lots of shifts to work. Will you do research about the needs in your own community? Will you organize your own event?
Every day at Goodr, we hit roadblocks. There may be a company that needs to step up and change a policy or a city that needs to become a willing partner in our progress. Or we may need to put a little pressure on those who are donating food they would otherwise throw away to give us healthy and tasty options, not just what’s easiest.
There are so many people that want to help and there’s so much food to be shared. We at Goodr have the patience to sort through the logistics to make it happen. That’s why I believe hunger in America is a solvable problem. What will you do to speed that solution?
Learn more about how we can end food waste and huger – watch the #Solvable mini-film here.