McKenna Greenleaf Faulk leapt over her school district’s red tape to get food to the people who needed it the most.
McKenna Greenleaf Faulk knows her hunger statistics.
In a recent interview with TakePart, she explained that one in six Americans are at risk of hunger. Meanwhile, this country wastes about 40 percent of all edible food. If Americans wasted just 15 percent less food, it would be enough to feed 25 million people. Not to mention how it would help the environment since nearly 33 million tons of waste end up in landfills.
“The average American wastes about 28 to 43 pounds of food a month,” McKenna, 13, says. “If we wasted less food, we could feed more people.”
That’s why she and some classmates at Thomas Starr King Middle School in the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles are working to curb food waste. They have launched 37 Degrees From Hunger at their school and hope to become a model for other schools across the country.
“There was all of this unwanted food lying on the table, and we thought why not take that and give it to someone who needs it, like to the homeless people in the neighborhood who may want it,” she says.
Their project was spurred by a teacher’s assignment to create a community-service project by identifying a problem and solving it.
As McKenna soon learned, taking on a problem like hunger is no easy task. She was told that a similar project had already been attempted by some students in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Their program didn’t go too well after a homeless man got ill from food that had been left out at room temperature, and the school district was sued.