I’m worried about tossing all this food — in a land where people are hungry.

I am a child of the plains — born in Oklahoma, grew up in Kansas. I am an honorary member of the “clean-plate” club. If I order it, I eat it. I am also a member of the HSIC (Honorable Society of Ice Crunchers). I hold onto the beverage glass with ice still rattling around, gradually melt the ice with the warmth of my hands, sip it slowly, or crunch the icy remnants. Waste not, want not. Growing up, if I left food on my plate, I was gently reminded of hungry children around the world.

Lately, I’ve been noticing the amount of food sent back to the kitchens at sit-down dinners, left on the buffets at special events, and tossed into garbage cans or waste containers. I know that there are some organizations who make it their business to contract with restaurants and special events vendors, to pick up left-overs, and to take food to a food bank or other distribution center. YAY for those efforts — we need more of them!

I once lived in a half-way house, where former offenders and college students had formed a community — to build bridges and to learn from each other. Each resident prepared his/her own breakfast and lunch. But in the evenings, we shared supper-time. And we each shared the experiences of our day. We were always very excited to see the truck from the local produce supplier back up to the kitchen steps. They would be bringing fresh produce, not quite fresh enough for restaurants or grocery stores — but just ripe, and just right for us.