In the movie DIVE! , some folks dumpster dive at grocery stores in the Los Angeles area. They go in winter, when food is less likely to go bad. At one point, they get a secondhand freezer to hold the meat, but it fills up in days.
In the face of so much food, the filmmakers are compelled to research how could this food get used? They find that many grocery stores deliver food that is past its posted due date to shelters and soup kitchens. The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act of 1996 protects these companies if someone were to get sick from this food. This has increased the amount of food being donated, but as this film shows, often a lot of food still gets thrown away.
Many charities work hard to cultivate relationships with grocery stores. But smaller charities who rely on volunteers often can’t afford the refrigeration for fresh food.
This movie makes a very compelling case that would make you want to check your grocery stores dumpsters. Perhaps the grocery stores with the most empty dumpsters should get our business because it means they are likely diverting items effectively to charities.
When I first came to the United States, I volunteered at a locally-run grocery store called the Uncommon Market in Arlington. At the end of my shift, I would gather up lots of items that were expiring that day, fill my backpack and ride home. This movie reminded me of those days – a long time ago!