Kern County Public Health’s ‘Waste Hunger Not Food’ Program: Addressing Food Insecurity and Nourishing Communities

April 5, 2024 /

In the month of April, Kern County Public Health identified food insecurity and malnutrition as one of their top health challenges in the community, and to help combat these issues, they implemented the Waste Hunger Not Food program

The Waste Hunger Not Food program gathers uneaten food from local schools and redistributes it free throughout Kern County for those in need. 

Since the program launched in 2018, Kern Public Health has rescued over 3,450,000 pounds of food for local families, has partnered with more than 11 school districts, and distributed the food to dozens of local churches and nonprofits in the community.

“Since 2018, we’ve rescued 711, 000 of food from the landfill,” said Greenfield Union School District’s Director of Nutrition Services, Joshua Rogers. “That’s a great benefit to our community.”

On April 4, South Kern Sol was invited to the program at Horizon Elementary to learn more about the program. Students separated their unopened food items into the “Waste Hunger Not Food” crates then Public Health picked up all the donated food and took it to Hillcrest Seventh Day Adventist Church where families or anyone in need can take them. 

“Kids are great. They learn quickly. It took about a week for them to get [used to of] the routine. Some of them still skip a few things here and there, but the majority of them do a great job,” said Rogers. 

Rogers shared that next year they will start a full recycling program where they’ll separate all their waste into organic, plastic, and recyclables. To teach the students how to help better the ecosystem.

Haley Duval

Haley is a reporter for Kern Sol News since December of 2023. She was born and raised in East Bakersfield and went to Foothill High School. Haley has AA in Journalism from Bakersfield College. When Haley is not reporting, she enjoys writing poetry, reading, traveling and spending time with friends and family. She can be reach at haley@southkernsol.org.