In the summer of 2009 Adam Lowry, while working for the family removals company in New Jersey, founded a non-profit organisation dedicated to reducing the huge mountain of food wasted in the US every year and delivering it to the thousands of hungry people across the country.
In August,‘Move for Hunger’ celebrated its 10th birthday having provided over 15 million meals to people in the US and Canada.
A staggering 40% of food produced in the United States is wasted and Adam was determined to do something about it. His idea was simple; to educate the public about food waste and make it easy for people to donate unwanted food to local pantries and food banks. Adam knew from his time in the moving business that people moving home often threw away perfectly good food that had been languishing in their cupboards, rather than taking it with them to their new address. If moving companies could be persuaded to help by collecting that food and delivering it to the food banks, people who would otherwise go hungry could be fed.
Adam, who has a degree in marketing and previously ran special events for Mercedes-Benz, used his talents to launch a campaign to get moving companies on board and turn his vision into reality.
“We produced educational material to let people know what the need is and encourage them to donate unwanted non-perishable food when they move house,” said Adam. “Reducing waste is something most people really care about and moving companies were keen to demonstrate their Corporate Social Responsibility by getting involved. We now have over 1,000 moving companies on board throughout the United States and Canada and a team of 13 people here in New Jersey to support them.”
Transport is always the most expensive element of collecting and distributing food, so the role the moving companies play is vital. “Our partner companies simply collect the donated food as part of the move and take it back to their warehouse before delivering it once a month to a local food bank, which we’ve connected them to,” said Adam. “The cost to the moving company is minimal and is more than made up for by the goodwill it generates in the community.”
As well as collecting food from people moving house, Move for Hunger also organises Food Drives and Food Rescue events. “Last year we organised about 1,000 events across the country where our moving companies helped by transporting the food to the food banks,” said Adam. “For every dollar saved in gasoline the food banks estimate they can feed up to five people.”
During its first ten years Move for Hunger has expanded beyond all recognition but Adam and his team have no intention of slowing down. “Along with our moving partners we’re now working with some of the world’s leading relocation management companies, corporate housing providers and furniture rental companies to rescue food when their clients move on,” said Adam.
Asked if there were plans to expand Move for Hunger beyond the United States Adam replied, “Although I’d like to do more globally, there is unfortunately still so much to do here, and we’ve already expanded into Canada. However, we will help people in other countries set up their own similar schemes by sharing our model with them and providing them with the material they need to get started.”
Move for Hunger is a 501(c)3 registered non-profit organisation funded by a joining fee from its members, support from corporate organisations and donations from private individuals.
Photo: Adam Lowry, Move for Hunger