Child Hunger and Banquet Food Waste

In the last several days I attended APHSA-ISM, a conference of human services administrators from all over the U.S. and the IT industry at the Philadelphia Convention Center. One of the beneficiaries we raised funds for was Philabundance, a local food bank.

A few hours  after we saw the heartbreaking marketing video of Philabundance, we attended the first conference luncheon. The ballroom had round tables for over 1,000 attendees, each table with nine chairs. Many tables were not full. There were only six people at ours.

The meal was family style. The waiters brought dishes of food and we served ourselves. Our table had large bowls of green salad and a pasta/ham salad, a basket of bread, a plate of chicken breasts, a plate of beef, and a large platter of some type of rice cake. Our table had food for at least 20 people. The beef dish wasn’t even touched. One of us took a single slice just for a taste. Then there was a plate of cupcakes for dessert of which we didn’t consume half.

I could not help but take a picture as I left:

banquet food waste
[click to enlarge]
None of the dishes were even half empty as we all walked out of the room. This was only our table.  There were over a hundred more in the room.

I do not know what the hotel did with the food that got removed from the tables. It was enough to feed an army.

I do not have the solution;  none of us in the room did, even though these were the people from around the country who have to administer food stamp programs, whose job it is to worry about the most vulnerable members of our society – hungry children.

This was a drastic reminder of the inequality in our country. Why do I get to eat in abundance in an air-conditioned ballroom, while 16 million kids in America aren’t getting the food they need?

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