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Sisters collect wasted food to fight hunger in metro Denver

DENVER — From food waste to battling hunger. Two Denver sisters noticed a problem and they acted on it.

Their nonprofit organization is feeding hundreds, and it’s also giving them the skills to cook the food.

It’s what happens at the area’s popular farmers markets after the music stops and the booths close down that got Maisie Roberts and her sister thinking.

Up to 2,500 pounds of food go wasted on any one day at the farmers market on South Pearl Street in Denver.

“So we thought, ‘What can we do to make a difference and get that to the people that need it most’?” Maisie Roberts says.

They started a nonprofit called Foraged Feast to collect the locally grown food that would otherwise be wasted from farmers markets, local farms and even wholesale food distributors.

“They are willing to give us so much food and donate all this food that they have worked so hard to grow, and they also get a tax donation from us.”

One in seven people in Colorado have trouble getting enough food to eat. Since 40 percent of the food in America ends up going to waste, Foraged Feast says the solution to a complex problem was relatively easy. The sisters say they’re harvesting for the hungry.

“We just load up the truck…and bring it at the end of the day!”

Once the food is paced up, it goes to several different nonprofits in metro Denver such as the Grow Haus. “People come in here every single week and really starting to depend on this food,” says Kayla Birdsong.

She says the Grow Haus feeds up to 25 families a week, and that number is growing.

“We were approached by some people in the Elyria-Swansea neighborhood, and the community kind of asked it of us, ‘Listen, we have a lot of people that are going to sleep hungry at night, this needs to be addressed and we need your help.'”

And before distributing the food, it’s time for cooking class. The people who benefit from the food get lessons about how to cook it.

This dynamic combination of nonprofits is on track to collect 120,000 pounds of produce this season. “Hunger is really such a complex problem and we think we are really part of the solution.”