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On a recent Tuesday morning in Northeast Los Angeles, a large industrial kitchen is piled with heaps of beautiful vegetables, including leafy greens and bright red tomatoes. Rows of sparkling knives and chopping boards lie neatly on countertops like the set of a television cooking show.
Volunteers trickle into the conference room of L.A. Kitchen, preparing to cook for an organization that delivers the meals to homeless families.
Every year, 30-40% of food in the U.S. goes to waste. Meanwhile, the USDA reports that 12.3% of American households are food insecure. The solution to both these issues may seem simple: Get the food that would otherwise be wasted onto the tables of the people who need it. And L.A. Kitchen does exactly that.
In recent years, though, fighting food waste has become a major cause that could have a big effect on food-driven charities. "It might seem like a cornucopia that will never end," Robert Egger, CEO of L.A. Kitchen Egger says of surplus food, but he anticipates a time when enough entrepreneurs start for-profit businesses with excess produce — like former Trader Joe’s president Doug Rauch’s Daily Table endeavor — that farms and wholesale companies may be reluctant to keep donating.
Eggers notes that it’s easier for nonprofits to just “feed the kids” instead of liberating their parents from the economic burdens that impoverished them in the first place he made job training an integral part of L.A. Kitchen’s modus operandi. They're not just out to liberate parents — the organization aims to help seniors and newly independent adults as well. L.A. Kitchen also launched a food brand, Strong Food, in order to provide jobs and fund some of their training programs.
Read the full article about solving the hunger problem by Liz Ohanesian at GOOD Magazine.