Apr 14

A food pantry volunteer since childhood in rural Iowa, Maria Rose Belding grew frustrated at the uneven nature of food donations. One day when Belding was 15, a well-intentioned donor gave her local food pantry a year’s worth of macaroni and cheese. “They didn’t ask us if we needed it,” she said. “But they gave us 5 tons of it.” After several months, clients at the food pantry were begging for something else, and after a year, the boxes were expiring. Belding was tasked with lugging the excess out in the snow to the dumpster. “As I did, I saw people outside, waiting in the cold for hours before we opened because they needed food so badly,” says Belding. “I thought, there has to be a better way.”