August 16, 2010
I just read, with horror, a comment posted on the Sunday story about MANNA, an organization that prepares meals for the elderly, working poor and other hungry people. The reader explained that N.C law prohibits restaurants, caterers and other food businesses from contributing leftovers to "soup kitchens." What a waste! On the food beat which I covered for many years at a Vermont newspaper, I wrote extensively about the local food bank and cafeteria. I often ate with clients while interviewing them. Most ingredients came from suppliers -- outdated food from supermarkets, bakeries, dairies. But what the recipients looked forward to the most were the caesar salad, shrimp, roast beef, fancy chicken and vegetable dishes, Black Forest cake, danish pastries, fresh fruit salad and other interesting offerings delivered by caterers and restaurants. These dishes were bright spots in a macaroni-and-cheese diet. I realize the danger of illness from improperly handed food. Yet not once in my experience did this happen, perhaps because the people who operated the food bank were vigilant. They knew food safety guidelines and used common sense following them Surely a compromise can be reached to prevent this waste and brighten the diets of the needy.