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Rescuers seek to save excess food to feed hungry in El Paso & Juarez

EL PASO, Texas -- According to a study from 2012, the Natural Resources Defense Council calculated that the average individual in the United States throws out an average of 400 pounds of food a year. That's just one person - not an entire family. Because of this, 'No Lost Food' was created in an attempt to prevent as much food as possible from reaching landfills as they can be toxic to the environment.

The people at No Lost Food are all volunteers. The local non-profit tries to rescue all left over food, whether perishable or non-perishable, from family homes or even from restaurants they are partnered with. A quality of food check is conducted to ensure the food is still edible, and then the food gets delivered to hungry homes, or people in shelters across the region.

“A tray of pasta is left over from a party-we can pick that up. We also accept canned items, cereals, anything that is non-perishable and perishable," Priya Raj, who is the El Paso Branch manager at No Lost Food, told ABC-7.

The No Lost Food volunteers use a food waste hierarchy to determine how the food will be handled, after being picked up by the organization. At the top, they say 'buy what you can eat/eat what you buy,' which is the first step to minimize the amount of leftover food waste. If that is impossible, which at times it can be, at this point, No Lost Food is more than willing to step in to take the food off of your hands.

From there, the food quality check is completed. If the food is edible, then it's off to a family or a shelter home. If not, then they'll actually donate the food to feed animals at farms. If the food is inedible for animals, its taken to be composted- a process that returns the food back to nutrient soil. Lastly, if all else fails, the food reaches the landfill.

Frontera Churros has partnered up with No Lost Food to help reduce the amount of edible food that they throw out. Bertha Gil, who owns the business, feels it is important to prevent all of her extra food items from going straight to the landfill.

"The fact that at night we were throwing away churros or any of the other food that we would make just broke our hearts, thinking that we could maybe just donate it somewhere. Any food that is left over or that we think is not in accordance with what we sell, we put it on the side and we put it in a bin just for donation and we do this either daily, on a daily basis or on a weekly basis," she said.

Maricruz Chavez, a supervisor at a community center in Juarez that works with both adults and children, told ABC-7 that she appreciates all the food that No Lost Food provides for the center - always looking out for them.

In the past year, the organization has provided food for 800 families between the sister cities, and has saved more than 20,000 pounds. No Lost Food says it's making every attempt to try to rescue as much food as possible from reaching the landfill.

Katie Frazier

Katie Frazier is an ABC-7 meteorologist and reporter.

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