Making an optimal difference while it's still our option.
Powerful green idea: DONATE UNUSED FOOD from your conference.
My Mom, Agnes George: Pioneer Girl Scout Troop Leader and Visionary Wearer o' the Green
Between being Irish, and having adored Kermit from the first moment I gazed into his Frog-googly eyes, going in a GREEN direction appeals to me. My Mother – Agnes McGeary George, bless her – was a champion of the Green and a visionary recycler, WAY ahead of her time. I’m talking the 1950s, a time when finding a place to accept recycled newspapers was about as easy as nailing jelly to the ceiling.
Frankly, she drove my sisters and me bonkers by insisting we segment the kitchen garbage so that eggshells, coffee grounds, grapefruit rinds, etc. – anything biodegradable – would be proudly heaped onto our backyard compost, which my parents would then in turn shovel into our gardens to enrich the soil. I was very jealous of my friends who could simply throw something away without getting cross-examined.
And how I envied those allowed to RRRRRRIPPPP open a gift-wrapped package, and not have to painstakingly detach the tape so the wrapping paper could be smoothed out and stored flat in a jumbo box and used a second time.
We weren’t needy; both my parents were attorneys and we were blessed with having all the necessaries. I see now that we were blessed in more ways than I knew. One reason we had everything we needed was because my Mom and Dad actually lived the concept of RECYCLING. In a nutshell: they were not wasters.
My parents grew up during the Great Depression and both World Wars. They helped organize paper drives and metal drives to collect materials for the war effort. Nothing was wasted, and the utter sensibility of recycling made a deep impression on them. I’m glad it did, and I’m even gladder that they instilled that waste not/want not mentality in us kids (although of course we would never have admitted any such thing while living under their roof ;-).
Heading up the Thou Shalt Not Waste list in our house was FOOD [although electricity ran a close second with my Father, who invariably asked if we had changed our names to Mrs. Edison when we carelessly exited a room without first turning off the lights]. But wasting food was the worst; it was simply wrong for a variety of reasons.
When I first started working in conferences, that early-learned lesson constantly pinched me any time I saw perfectly good, untouched food being thrown away, either because I’d ordered too much, or attendees were dieting, or whatever. That bothered me for years, and I was actually JUBILANT when I learned that some enterprising souls came up with a way to get the surplus food to people who needed it. (Yippee! a 21st Century solution of sorts to my mother’s admonishing “there are starving people in China who would be happy to get what you’ve left on your plate!”)
It used to be that well-intentioned conference directors were dissuaded from making food donations for fear of liability (“Would I be held responsible if someone falls ill after eating food I donated?”) Happily, in 1996 there came the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Actto encourage donation of food and grocery products to non-profit organizations for distribution to needy individuals.
NYC’s City Harvest also provides excellent guidelines on How to start a food rescue program in your community Elsewhere in the country: most articles I've read suggest that conference directors “contact their local food bank” to find out how to donate unserved food. Here's an excellent Food Bank Locator:
It’s been my experience that recycling is neither convenient nor clutter-free, traditionally two deadly enemies of the efficient conference director and/or household manager. In truth, recycling is a chore and a challenge. But for us in the conference biz, streamlining chores is a challenge to which we’ve always risen .. and at which we’re known to shine.
To borrow a theme from Dorothy Parker: I love having recycled ..
With good green thoughts and warmest wishes .. from your conference colleague, Peggy Kilburn.
Click on the USA for an easy way to help Our Troops :-)
Questions? Comments? Need more info? We'd be delighted to hear from you! Peggy Kilburn Conferences (336) 521-4157 email@example.com