Rotary brings us many remarkable stories about how one person can motivate wonderful projects. Today’s breakfast speaker at the 2016 multi-district PETS (President-Elect Training Seminar) was David Bobanick, talking about Rotary First Harvest. RHF was started in 1982 by one Rotarian, Norm Hillis. He recognized that roughly 38% of grown food in the United States is wasted due to cosmetic, size, and shape issues. He had a dream of saving that food to be used in hunger relief centers. Knowing that 60% of the populations served in those centers were children and seniors further motivated him. He leveraged his passion and his Rotary and business contacts to create an organization which has diverted 193,679,072 pounds of food from unsaleable to hunger relief agencies since inception in 1982.
The organization is still going strong and has expanded to partner with Americorps Vista to involve recent college grads who spend a year working with small farmers in a produce recovery model that saves 33.4 million pounds of produce.