SAN RAFAEL (KPIX 5) When most people think of Marin County, they don’t think of people who go hungry. Yet, it’s a very real problem. But this week’s Jefferson Award winner decided something could be done to feed people and at the same time, cut down on how much food is wasted.
Marv Zauderer discovered that one in five people in affluent Marin County — about 50,000 residents — worry about where their next meal is coming from.
“When I see hunger in my own community it just breaks my heart,” said Marv Zauderer. “There are more than 16,000 seniors who live here and can’t make ends meet.”
Plus, there are hungry children, and low-income families.
But Zauderer found a solution in what was being thrown away.
“Forty percent of all food in this country is wasted!” he said.
And in a landfill, that wasted food creates methane, contributing to global warming. So three years ago, Zauderer founded the non-profit ExtraFood. Partnering with more than 80 food pantries, homeless shelters, senior centers, and after-school programs, he asks what food they need, and how much.
“And we’re then off looking for donations of excess food from any business or organization in this county: grocery stores, caterers, schools that match those needs,” he explained.
Two hundred volunteers pick up the donated food and deliver it 365 days a year. So far, ExtraFood has delivered some 900,000 pounds of food, reaching 5,000 people every month, and preventing more than 70,000 pounds of methane from entering the atmosphere.
Fresh food comes from restaurants and grocery stores like Nugget Markets.
“For us, it’s great to be able to donate the same day and be able to give to families in need the same day as well,” said Chaunte Chastang, a store director for Nugget.
The whole program helps solve hunger as well as waste.
“These problems of food waste and hunger are actually solvable in our lifetimes,” Zauderer said. “That’s what gets me charged up to come to work and work with so many wonderful people across this county every day.”
So for finding a way to get healthy extra food to the hungry in Marin County, this week’s Jefferson award in the Bay Area goes to Marv Zauderer.