The Big Waste

It was one of those nights where I found myself at home lying on the couch flipping channels. The Food Network is usually the last channel I go to to find something to watch. Don’t get me wrong, I love their shows, but for some reason whenever I watch I end up eating when I’m not hungry.  It is The Food Network!

Well this night was different, the show that night was The Big Waste, and it made me think a bit more than usual (and not about food).

The Big Waste: First class chefs Bobby Flay, Michael Symon, Anne Burrell and Alex Guarnaschelli tackle one of the most massive problems in food today – waste! Divided into two teams, with only 48 hours on the clock, they are challenged to create a multi course gourmet banquet worthy of their great reputations, but with a big twist; they can only use food that is on its way to the trash.

To an extent, we do this for Hunger Action (we accept donations and most of the shopping is done at the Capital Area Food Bank), but Bobby, Michael, Anne and Alex took things to a new level. Maybe the Morris Cafritz Center for Community Service should try some of their recipes!

Or maybe we should be all be freegans. Freeganism is the practice of reclaiming and eating food that has been discarded.  On The Big Waste, Anne spends the evening with a freegan dumpster diving and checking out garbage bags of food being tossed out by restaurants.

The group also went to local bakeries and farms and took waste from there: eggs that weren’t a uniform size, chickens with broken wings, fruits or vegetables with a few brown spots.  All perfectly good to eat but not something most would pick from a store shelf.

Do you have a contact at a restaurant, a bakery or a local farm? Do you buy the non-perfect fruits and vegetables at the grocery? If we all pitch in and collect food that might be thrown out, think of the difference we could make.  Donate it to Hunger Action, DC Central Kitchen or give it someone living on the street.

One-third of the world’s food is wasted. What are you going to do?

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Berman Hebrew Academy Students Make My Senior Skip Day Look Shallow

Back in the good ole analog days, when I was in high school, “Senior Skip Day” (you might have called it “Cut Day” or “Ditch Day” or “I Got Into College and I Am Sooo Over High School Day”) was a day for frivolity, goofing off, and in my case heading down to the Jersey Shore, testing out my fake i.d., and trying to convince Heidi McHighschoolcrush that we could be more than “just friends.” But enough of my baggage. (P.S.–Heidi, I am totally over you.)

Yesterday, Erica Steen, the director of the Morris Cafritz Center for Community Service got a phone call at around 10am telling her that a group of Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy students were having an impromptu “Senior Skip Day” and were looking to make the day meaningful and thought a community service project would fit the bill. While the department didn’t have any specific projects scheduled for that day, Erica proposed that they come downtown anyway and she would Berman Academy Kids Rebel By Repairing the Worldcreate a project for them.

Within an hour Erica met 14 boys and one girl at a grocery store around the corner from the 16th Street J where they purchased bread and fruit and bottled water, then returned to the J’s community service prep kitchen.

The kids proceeded to assemble peanut butter sandwiches which they then took down to Franklin Square at 13th and I Streets and distributed to the homeless population that tends to congregate in the park there.

According to Erica, much of the conversation amongst the students centered around how much trouble they might be in the next day for cutting class. And while, their headmaster may have to give at least a small rebuke (if he’s a go-by-the-book kind of guy), I have a hunch that they won’t be forced to write on the blackboard 100 times, “I will not cut class to feed the homeless and hungry.”

Bart Simpson Does Not Attend Berman Hebrew Academy

So we congratulate the Seniors of the Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy for their good hearts, their kind deeds and hope that the faculty and staff of the school will smile and be proud of all that they did. We were proud to be a part of it.

If you are a high school student (or are parenting a high school student) and are interested in doing community service work for school credit or for personal enrichment, consider participating in the 16th Street J’s summer service camp: Yad B’ Yad. The two-week camp exposes high school students to a variety of service projects in the DC-area including shelter repair, hunger action, environmental clean-up, neighborhood beautification and work with at-risk children. There’s an early-bird registration discount of 10% if you sign up before April 4.

This Week at the 16th Street J

A selection of program highlights from the coming week…

Monday, February 4

Annual Theater J Benefit – Roast of Ari Roth

Power Cycle with Elana

5 on 5 Basketball Leagues

Tuesday, February 5

Screening Room: Making Trouble featuring post-screening discussion with Judy Gold

Yoga for Power with Viviana

Wednesday, February 6

25 Questions for a Jewish Mother (Wed-Sun)

Israel 2008: The Political Landscape

Thursday, February 7

Ballroom Dancing Classes Begin

Step-N-Sculpt with Lynda (class cancelled for renovations to space – will resume next week)

Hunger Action

Friday, February 8

Open Mah Jongg

Ta’am Shel Shabbat

DC Minyan Evening Services

Bet Mishpachah Evening Services

Saturday, February 9

Pickup Volleyball

Pickup Basketball

Sunday, February 10

Emery Shelter Visit

Duties of the Heart

RikudDC – Israeli Dancing

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