September 15, 2009
Recording Artist Norwood Young, Founder of ‘Feed His People’, Declares Outrage Over Wasted Food - And Does Something About It
Posted by Don Rose
“During a time when record numbers of people are losing their homes, unemployment is rising and a growing number of families are in need, California caterers, hotels and restaurants throw out roughly 1.5 million tons of perfectly good food every year," says Norwood Young, founder of ‘Feed His People’, a faith-based non-profit organization committed to ending hunger in America, beginning with Los Angeles County. “If you include food stores, medical/health facilities, schools, county facilities and businesses, over 5.8 million tons of food is discarded annually, according to a study published by the California Environmental Protection Agency in December 2004."
The UCLA Center for Health Policy and Research found that over 3 million adults in California could not put food on the table and 1.3 million children are going to bed hungry. In Los Angeles County alone, it is estimated that close to 1 million households are experiencing low food security. It's not just the homeless who are flocking to food banks and soup kitchens -- the worsening economy is forcing many working families to seek assistance just to put food on the table.
“Most people don’t know that if you are the one paying for that hotel banquet, wedding party or corporate event, you have the right to insist that any leftovers be donated to charity. And, when you are dining out, ask the restaurant what they do with their leftover food and let them know about the Good Samaritan Act,” says Norwood. The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996, protects the donor and the recipient agency against any liability, excepting only gross negligence and/or intentional misconduct. According to Section 170 of the Internal Revenue Code, “ . . . wholesome food that is properly saved, donated to an approved agency and properly receipted is eligible for an enhanced tax deduction equal to ½ of the donated food’s appreciated value . . ."
So why is so much food ending up in the dumpster? “Simply put, it's often too much hassle for restaurants, caterers and hotels to arrange for leftover food to be given to a homeless shelter or soup kitchen. So they toss it in the trash,” says Mr. Young. “However, the good news is that The Cheesecake Factory, The Olive Garden, Red Lobster, A&W Restaurants, KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and Long John Silver’s have stepped up to the plate and are harvesting their leftover food, but where are the rest of the national chains ... and why isn’t every hotel, caterer and restaurant doing the same?”
To augment food rescue in Los Angeles County, ‘Feed His People’ is now working in conjunction with a Southern California food bank whose facility includes a 24,000 square foot warehouse with freezer and refrigeration space which can hold 4.5 million pounds of food at any given time. “We will pick up the food, transport it and deliver it to the hungry. All we need is your leftover food,” says Norwood, “and hopefully, together, we can end hunger in America."
To volunteer, donate food, or for more information, contact Feed His People at (323) 549-0876 or email@example.com. The organization's website is located at www.wefeedhispeople.org/index02.htm.
With a heart for the less fortunate, Norwood founded “Feed His People,” a non-profit organization to feed the hungry, in 2005. As the former lead singer for the legendary jazz group “Pieces of a Dream,” Norwood Young recorded the album entitled ‘Bout Dat Time’ and received a Gold Record for the hit single “What Can I Do?” Norwood has appeared weekly on television, starring on E! Network Television’s hit reality series “High Maintenance 90210.”
In the mid-1990’s, the New Jersey native purchased an estate in Hancock Park and was immediately plagued with controversy when he decorated his front lawn with seventeen statues modeled on Michelangelo's David. Norwood would spend the next thirteen years fighting for his freedom of expression as uptight neighbors tried to get him to take the statues down or move out! Today the infamous Youngwood Court Estate is both a landmark and tourist attraction, and in November 2008 Norwood Young was inducted as ‘King of Hancock Park’ by the prestigious LA City Beat magazine. Norwood has recently completed his autobiography, "Getting Back To My Me," written with Pulitzer Prize winner Karen Hunter. The memoir chronicles his life, from sexual and drug abuse to the perils of Hollywood. The book is due out in Spring 2010, and is published by Simon and Schuster.