Adam Lowy has managed to crossover services that seem completely unrelated to each other, and in the process has met basic human needs while also drastically reducing food waste.
Lowy works for his family-owned moving company, and after years of packing families and prepping them to leave their homes, he made an observation about something. He noticed that almost every family they packed up ended up throwing out large quantities of unopened, non-perishable food items.
Lowry shared his observation with TODAY:
“When people move, they throw away a whole bunch of stuff: food, clothing, furniture, you name it. And what bothered us was the perfectly good, nonperishable food that was getting left behind in the pantry, or simply thrown in the trash.”
What was born from this observation was a non-profit Lowry called “Move For Hunger,” which would utilize moving companies to pack up any unwanted food items from homes they were packing up, and then deliver this food to local food banks.
Lowry and his crews began asking customers if they wanted to donate any of their pantry items when they moved, and Lowry would then box these items and deliver them to a food bank. During his first month of taking food donations, he delivered over 300 pounds of food to a food bank in his area.
His first food drop opened his eyes to the food insecurity crisis that was affecting his community.
“I had never visited a local food bank before,” he said to TODAY. “Growing up here in Monmouth County, New Jersey, the home of Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi and the Jersey Shore, you look around and don’t see a lot of poverty or food lines. And (the food bank) told us that there were more than 100,000 people, just in our county, that didn’t have enough to eat. And at that point, it became personal.”
The idea received such incredible support locally, that Lowry decided to reach out to moving companies across the country and ask them to join in this new mission. When a company is notified that someone is moving, Move For Hunger provides the occupants with a letter explaining their mission, and then whatever moving company is hired will provide a box to fill with unwanted food items.
To date, over 1,000 moving companies throughout the U.S. and Canada have partnered with Move For Hunger, donating more than 20 million pounds of food to food banks and pantries in the process.
“Before the pandemic, there were 37 million Americans struggling with food insecurity,” said Lowy. “Now (there’s) 54 million Americans struggling with hunger, which includes one in four children, one in 11 seniors. More than 40% of the people visiting food banks over the last year with new to food banks … It’s just become very hard.”
The organization has grown so much over the past 12 years they now host food drives and collaborate with farms and refrigeration companies to bring fresh food and produce to local pantries. In 2020 alone, Move For Hunger hosted 1,000 food drives, and combined with their home-movers donations, delivered 5 million pounds of food to charities.
“We’ve gotten to take the time to know as many food banks and pantries, big and small,” Lowy said. “We want to be a partner for them so they can spend more time getting food out the door rather than trying to figure out how they’re going to get food in the door. … We’re 11 years in and I feel like we’re just getting started.”