Lisa Abraham

My grandparents and great-grandparents were immigrants from poor countries and my parents were born in the midst of the Great Depression.


What this translates to down the branches of my family tree is a long-held conviction that food should never be wasted.


As if the family guilt werenít enough, there was one particularly overzealous nun in grade school, who decided to hang pictures of the proverbial ďstarving children in AfricaĒ over the trash cans in our cafeteria.


That apple you didnít finish, those crusts you chewed off your peanut butter sandwich ó here were the children who would love to eat your scraps. Their sad eyes and bloated bellies stared down upon us as a reminder that wasting food was not just a bad thing, it was a sin.


Today, some parents would probably sue that nun for damage to their childís psyche, but this was 40 years ago and most of the parents in my school probably thought it was a good lesson. Like I said, this was a long time ago.


My damaged psyche aside, I still think itís a sin to waste food. I am continually amazed when I learn about widespread food waste taking place.


Thatís why I was happy to learn of a recent expansion of the Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act.


A federal law passed in 1996, the Good Samaritan Act protects both donors from liability, civil and criminal, for food donations they make. A recent change in the law now gives public schools the same protections as restaurants, caterers and retailers when donating leftover food.


Last week, I told you about Kent State students who have worked to put an end to food waste on their campus. They have saved more than 14,000 pounds of food from the trash over the last year, so itís clear that our public schools and institutions have some excess on their hands. (If you missed the story, read it at www.ohio.com/lifestyle/food.)


I try to give folks the benefit of the doubt, and I realize that some businesses may just not know what to do. Many already are making the effort. Soup kitchens, homeless shelters and hot meal programs are ready and waiting to accept your donations, and most of them will send a volunteer to come and pick it up.


So here is my offer: If you are a grocery store, caterer, restaurant, school, or any other food retailer, purveyor or person who doesnít donate your excess food, and you donít know what to do, call me. I will personally put you in contact with someone who will take it off your hands to feed the needy. My contact information is below.


There really is no excuse for wasting food.


Lisa Abraham can be reached at 330-996-3737 or at labraham@thebeaconjournal.com.