Kristin Anderson is on a mission to help needy families by not letting food go to waste

By Jason Duaine Hahn
November 23, 2017 12:30 PM
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Credit: Kristin Anderson

A wedding planner in Illinois hopes newlyweds all over the country will join in on her mission to bring leftover food to hungry stomachs instead of a trash bin.

Kristin Anderson of Weddings & Events By Kristin noticed two years ago that collections of food were being wasted after the weddings and events she organized. The amount of food being thrown out was even worse for the buffet-style weddings, and seeing the food end up in the garbage was enough to inspire Anderson to make a change.

“It literally was just being thrown in the garbage, so we decided to donate it to people in need,” Anderson, from Wheaton, Illinois, tells PEOPLE. “We tried it out for a year to see if it worked and if people were very responsive to the idea!”

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Credit: Kristin Anderson

The crew works about 20 to 25 events a year, giving them the opportunity to collect a massive amount of food for Chicago-area pantries, shelters and churches. Since they started their program two years ago, they have made around 50 donations and have fed 30 to 50 people during each drop-off.

“When I present this to clients, they have all been super responsive and excited about it,” Anderson says. “They all say there is no reason let it go to waste. Some venues are even donating extra meals for us to bring to the homeless shelters.”

Anderson says she and her team have been able to feed more than 1,600 people to date thanks to their initiative.

“When I saw the children eating food they have never seen before it literally made me cry,” she says. “We’re all selfish in our own way and this has made me realize we all take things for granted. It made me a totally different person and appreciative of everything in life.”

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Credit: Kristin Anderson

But food donation can be tricky, as Anderson learned, and some venues were hesitant because of food laws and regulations. So, she earned her food handler’s license and brought in a refrigerator dedicated to keeping the food in safe conditions for handling and transportation.

Anderson hopes that her program can reach others outside of her corner of Illinois, and help to benefit other people in need across the country.

“Our goal is to spread this to as many people as we can. I want more venues, brides, grooms and other planners to do this, too,” she says. “Can you imagine all the people we could feed if everyone does this? No food should go to waste!”