New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher will mark New Jersey’s first Food Waste Prevention Day at the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK) on Thursday, September 19 at noon, kicking off a statewide endeavor to decrease food waste while continuing TASK’s month-long tribute to Hunger Action Month, a national campaign to fight hunger and food insecurity.

TASK fights hunger all year long, but in September the city’s only soup kitchen takes additional steps to bring local awareness to this nation-wide dilemma affecting nearly 40,000 Mercer County residents of which 10,000 are children. Food Waste Prevention Day is aligned with a package of state legislation signed in May by Governor Phil Murphy as part of a plan to spotlight food waste while fostering partnerships to create and share solutions to prevent it. The legislation contains a list of initiatives to address the issue, among them –  citizen education in the form of a proclamation making the third Thursday in September Food Waste Prevention Day. The legislation also calls for the creation of a task force in the New Jersey Department of Human Services that will identify strategies, policies, and legislation including ways to build support to improve distribution of edible surplus food while increasing  food donations to charities like TASK.

“We are honored to be a part of this day which shines a spotlight on the role the prevention of food waste plays in quelling hunger and food insecurity,” said TASK Executive Director Joyce E. Campbell. “At TASK we have implemented our own methods of cutting food waste, including the addition of a salad bar. Before it’s arrival, we put salads directly on patrons’ trays; but not everyone likes salad. The salad bar gives them choices and consequently resulted in more food eaten and less left on their plates which, in turn, leads to more food being available to feed more people.”

Along with Food Waste Prevention Day, TASK is marking Hunger Action Month with various activities including the TASK 30 Ways in 30 Days Hunger Action Month Challenge. The challenge is laid out on a calendar that provides daily acts anyone can take to help in the fight against hunger and food insecurity. Additionally, the mayor’s office issued a proclamation on September 12 at TASK’s headquarters to officially mark Hunger Action Day in the city. Trenton Mayor Reed Gusicora is expected to attend the Food Waste Prevention Day event along with other invited guests from the state legislature, city council, social service agencies and the community.

Click here for the resolution on Food Waste Prevention Day.