Waste Not OC, a coalition working to combat food insecurity in Orange County, has been selected as a model practice by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) after demonstrating exemplary and replicable qualities in response to a local public health need.
NACCHO reviewers noted in their vigorous peer-evaluation of Waste Not OC’s application that “…food insecurity is in an under-the-radar health issue in many communities in the United States. Distributing prepared food that would otherwise go to waste can be a complex undertaking.”
In Orange County, one in five people faces food insecurity on any given day. To address this growing social problem, the County of Orange Health Care Agency’s Public Health Officer lead the creation of a coalition of food banks, health care representatives, restaurants, food distributors, and community leaders called Waste Not OC. The organization is a public-private partnership with the goal of eliminating hunger and reducing food waste by facilitating surplus food donations from food-producing facilities to local pantries.
“Since its inception in 2012, Waste Not OC has recovered 236 tons of extra food from local businesses that would have otherwise been thrown away and transformed the surplus into 391,745 meals for residents in need,” said Dr. Eric Handler, Public Health Officer. “As we celebrate this important, national recognition, I hope it serves as further motivation for additional jurisdictions to work with restaurants, retailers and grocers to join our efforts and help feed the need.”
Dr. Handler has been invited to attend the 2016 NACCHO Annual Conference this July to be formally recognized.
To learn more about Waste Not OC, please visit http://www.wastenotoc.org/.