America is one of the world's most wealthy nations, and in the matter of agriculture, it is the most blessed. Yet enough food goes to waste each day to feed every hungry adult and child living in this nation. Some five million children go to bed hungry each night, due to inefficiencies in the food processing and distribution networks. For instance, a produce warehouse has food that needs to be consumed within a day or two, it can't be sold to a grocer because the shelf-life is not adequate. But often this is food at the peak of its nutritional value. All too often, if there is no money to be made, fresh healthy vegetables and nutritious fruits are discarded, rather than pay to ensure that the hungry are fed. The primary problem here is that of a lack of a low-cost or no-cost distribution system.
In 1980, "Food Not Bombs" was formed in Boston by a group of anti-nuclear activists to redistribute some of the food that is thrown away each day. They began by collecting edible food from warehouses and grocery stores that was either in surplus or deemed unsalable. This includes vegetables and fruits which are at the end of their shelf-lives, and slightly-damaged or visually-unappealing produce. "Food Not Bombs" would then take this produce to local soup-kitchens where it would be prepared the same day, and served to the hungry.
"Food Not Bombs" is a very-loosely structured voluntary cooperative of people volunteering their own time and resources to collect usable produce, and distribute it to the poor. "Food Not Bombs" is dedicated to non-violence, and believes that poverty, hunger and homelessness are essentially violent, inasmuch as they violate essential human dignity. Also, "Food Not Bombs" does not distribute anything other than produce and information. Aside from any ideological or political considerations, it would be very difficult to ensure that outdated meat products were safe to eat. Homelessness is bad enough without getting poisoned by the well-intentioned and thus "Food Not Bombs" distributes only vegetarian produce such as breads, fruits and vegetables, and where possible tries to acquire produce which has been grown under the most natural conditions.
Every Sunday, DC "Food Not Bombs" serves nutritious vegetarian meals to the homeless and the poor at Dupont Circle Park, and also at 13th & "K" Streets NW. They would like the assistance of any caring persons, in particular they need help picking up food from various donors and donating organizations. If you have a car, please get in touch with them!
Learn more about DC Food Not Bombs and the larger Food Not Bombs movement!
Some general information about Greater Washington Metropolitan Area homelessness, advocacy, and outreach groups may be found at the Community Resources/Community Services Page from the Washington Post.
For Montgomery County Maryland, there is an OnLine Search Engine.