How Hass Gives Back With Buy One, Feed One Initiative
A recent study published by the USDA found that in 2020, nearly 14 million households in the U.S. experienced food insecurity. According to Feeding America, 42 million people, including 13 million children, are expected to have experienced food insecurity in 2021, with Black individuals suffering even more.
No one deserves to go hungry. That’s why we’re leveraging our commitment with 1% for the Planet, through which we donate 1% of all revenue, to partner with nonprofits City Harvest and Food Forward. Together, we’re helping ensure those experiencing food insecurity know where their next meal is coming from. Through our Buy One, Feed One program, Hass donates a meal to someone in need for every purchase made on our website.
“Unlike fixed expenses like rent and transportation, a grocery budget can be cut back on when families need to stretch their dollar to afford basic needs,” says Rebecca Fontes, director of business partnerships at City Harvest. “When families are confronted with high costs in other areas, such as housing, they end up food insecure. That’s why organizations like City Harvest are so critical. We rescue food that would otherwise go to waste and deliver it, free of charge, to hundreds of soup kitchens and food pantries across the five boroughs, so that New Yorkers have access to free, nutritious food.”
In the United States, 30 to 40 percent — or 80 million pounds of food — is wasted every year. This doesn’t just contribute to our worsening hunger crisis. Food waste harms the environment, too. It’s estimated that food left to rot in landfills contributes to 37 million cars’ worth of greenhouse gas emissions in the country.
City Harvest and Food Forward help provide access to healthy food while reducing food waste by rescuing produce from farms, restaurants, and grocers that would otherwise get thrown away and putting it in the hands of those struggling with food insecurity. And when the pandemic hit, the organizations jumped into action.
In 2020, with more than 20 million people in the U.S. out of work, families across the country struggled to put food on the table. And when schools closed, a reliable source of breakfast and lunch for hundreds of millions of kids evaporated. Lines at local food pantries became overwhelming — with some people waiting an entire day to get a small box of essentials — as the food pantries themselves scrambled to replenish resources. Meanwhile, with fewer people able to purchase groceries, farmers were forced to destroy perfectly good crops.
City Harvest ramped up its capacity to help feed the estimated 54 percent surge in food insecurity among New Yorkers. The nonprofit kept its fleet of trucks on the road 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to rescue and deliver food to the 32 Emergency Food Distribution Sites they helped open in high-need neighborhoods. Hundreds of thousands of pounds of food were repacked each week to ensure safe distribution to those sites and to frontline workers. All in all, City Harvest rescued and delivered 191 million pounds of food during the crisis — more than double the amount for the same period the prior year.
“Our food rescue work, coupled with our Mobile Markets and robust nutrition education programming — much of which happens at the point of food distribution — helps us provide the people we serve not only with food, but also with the long-term tools and resources they need to adopt healthy eating habits and prepare healthy meals for themselves and their families,” says Fontes. “We also work with partners in communities across the city to ensure that residents stay informed about anti-hunger policies and programs, and advocate for equity and inclusion in the decision-making process that shapes the local food system.”
Food Forward engaged in similar work. The organization quickly created new distribution sites and expanded an 8,000 square foot extension to its 10,000 square foot warehouse to rescue and provide more food to those in need. It was all-hands-on-deck, with staff stepping in to fill gaps and help out as much as possible. In 2020, Food Forward was able to distribute 62 million pounds of fresh produce, almost 2.5 times what they had distributed in 2019.
But the work of nonprofits like City Harvest and Food Forward isn’t just critical during times of crisis. The organizations are a vital weekly resource for low-income communities. A resource that also helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions by keeping fresh produce out of landfills. To date, City Harvest has recused more than 950 million pounds of food. And since 2009, Food Forward’s recovered produce has prevented 49,517 metric tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere, the equivalent of taking 14,039 cars off the road.
“In our first year, Food Forward harvested and donated 100,000 pounds of fruit — today, we share well over that in a single day,” says Celia Cody-Carrese, communications supervisor for Food Forward. “We operate three produce recovery programs — Backyard Harvest, Farmers Market Recovery, and Wholesale Produce Recovery — and serve organizations across Southern California and beyond the state. Food Forward is really a logistics operation to connect surplus produce to organizations that work with food insecure individuals.”
Hass is proud to help City Harvest and Food Forward continue to create a better future for people and the planet through our 1% for the Planet partnership. As an individual, you can get involved, too. You can donate food or funds, participate in fundraising efforts, or, if you live in the area, volunteer your time.
“Our partnerships with companies like Hass are so important to our work,” says Cody-Carrese. “Not only does Hass’s generous support help us expand our impact, but this partnership allows us to share our work with a new audience. Our hope is that whether people volunteer, donate, or even just find ways to reduce food waste at home, everyone can be a part of the solution. We want anybody to be able to get involved with our work — and this partnership makes it easy for every customer to support Food Forward!”