For the next couple weeks, we’re excited to share stories from WHPC members, “hidden figures” who are out there in our local community being “secretly incredible.” Our first post is from elder Kenny Rahmeyer. Read on to hear how Kenny and friends are repurposing abundance right here in Austin.
When the Apostle Paul died in A.D. 67, there were 2500 Christians. By 350, there were 34 million, a majority of the Roman Empire's population. How and why did these early Christians survive and thrive when they were despised by so many? According to historians, Christians took care of each other by taking seriously Jesus' command to feed the hungry.
Today, there are still a lot of hungry people that need our help. Restaurant chains and commercial kitchens (including large hotels and other food retailers) waste millions of tons of food every year. Many companies are working to reduce waste by better managing inventory and increasing donations. A growing trend in the food industry for increasing donations is food re-purposing.
Food re-purposing was on my mind a few years ago after I attended an event at Austin’s Renaissance Hotel. I learned that much of the leftover food from the hotel was discarded. Hotel management was receptive to a better alternative. After several meetings with the hotel and the Central Texas Food Bank—and with the support of the WHPC Mission Committee—we now have a program that produces tremendous results.
Refrigerator for food storage, purchased by WHPC for the Renaissance Hotel in Northwest Austin. Leftovers are stored here until they can be delivered to the Central Texas Food Bank and its pantry partners.
God’s Family Dinner at University Baptist Church. Every Thursday evening, leftover food from the Renaissance is re-purposed for meal preparation and enjoyed by our neighbors.
For two years now, every two weeks, we have picked up leftover food from the hotel and delivered it to one of the Food Bank’s pantry partners downtown. Over 4,000 pounds of food have been provided to the homeless community in Austin. And this is in addition to the other hunger relief programs the church sponsors, like Meal-a-Month with Manos de Cristo, our Mobile Loaves and Fishes truck runs, Feed My People Breakfast, and Feed My Starving Children mobile packs.
Food re-purposing represents a tremendous mission opportunity. Imagine what might be possible if we could replicate this re-purposing model in partnership with more hotels in our community. What creative ideas do you have about sharing abundance and ending hunger?
Want to learn more or get involved in food repurposing?
Contact Kenny directly (firstname.lastname@example.org).