Last year, COVID-19 lockdowns forced many restaurants to close and events to be canceled at the last minute, so a lot of food that was already purchased stood to be wasted.

“There were a lot of businesses that were faced with that harsh reality that they just had so much food that could not be utilized,” says Phil Acosta of Aloha Harvest, a Hawaiian food rescue organization.

The group quickly mobilized to collect that food and distribute it to people in need.

As the pandemic wore on, chefs whose restaurants were closed rushed to help meet the growing demand. Aloha Harvest partnered with an organization called Chef Hui.

“And we started to prepare foods and get that out to the community – so, ready-to-eat, ready-to-heat type of meals,” Acosta says.

Rescuing food not only helps feed people. It can also reduce global warming pollution because less food needs to be grown, packaged, and shipped. And less waste ends up rotting in landfills and releasing methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

“We want to make sure that everything that’s produced is consumed in some way and not wasted,” Acosta says. “We need to do a much better job of utilizing our precious food resources.”

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.