Frequently Asked Questions

What is Food Waste Weekend?

Food Waste Weekend is a nationwide public engagement event by America’s faith community to introduce the issue of – and some solutions to – the food waste dilemma facing America.

When is Food Waste Weekend?

Friday, Saturday and Sunday, September 21-23, 2018.  If you are unable to participate on this particular weekend, pick another one that works for you. All of the resources of will remain online.

What will be happening on that weekend?

Clergy from across the faith spectrum will be speaking about food waste – the practical problem as well as the ensuing moral/ethical issues – from their own faith perspective during their weekly sermon.

This is amazing – clergy of different faiths all giving sermons on the same issue, each from their own faith perspective, all on the same weekend. Has that ever been done before? 

As far as we know, 2016 was the first time. That is the year we launched the Food Waste Weekend pilot.

Who is sponsoring Food Waste Weekend?

This program is an education and awareness program from, a nationwide 501c3 nonprofit organization. is reducing food waste nationwide by educating, encouraging and enabling America’s 42 million home and community gardeners to donate their heretofore wasted excess harvest to more than 8,000 food pantries nationwide. A recent study determined that more than 11 billion pounds of garden food is lost to waste annually.

Food waste is a “foodie” issue… where does the faith community come into it?

“Foodies” have been discussing food waste in the past decade. Non-profits, government, “farm to table” businesses and others have increasingly been brought into the discussion, yet up to now, the faith community has not yet been engaged. This has been a critical gap for two reasons:

  1. Millions of Americans are not yet aware that food waste is an issue that is hurting them and their community, and therefore are not aware of the many options available to them to reduce or eliminate food waste.
  2. 70% of America’s food pantries – a key part of the solution to food waste – are based in or sponsored by a house of worship. By closing this gap, more food that otherwise would be lost to waste can be routed to a nearby hunger program to benefit those in the community who are food insecure.

Where will Food Waste Weekend take place?

Everywhere. Clergy from all states and in all faith communities are welcomed and encouraged to participate.

What exactly will the clergy have to help then with their sermons? (with help from GreenFaith – thank you) created all of the resources needed for any/every house of worship to participate. Downloadable documents at, both secular and faith specific, are available including:

  1. General introduction to the issue of food waste – an abridged version as well as a somewhat longer more academic look at the issue, videos and links to several excellent food waste information sites.
  2. An article for use in newsletters or bulletins (two versions – one shorter and one longer – are available)
  3. Boilerplate sermons written six major faith traditions along with one secular one.  Several are also available in Spanish.
  4. A “game show” for their religious schools
  5. A series of Calls to Action that the clergy can share as part of the sermon.

What are calls to action?

Food Waste Weekend has assembled a number of things that the members of the congregation can do to reduce or eliminate food waste. The clergy should decide which of them will have the greatest impact and most likely to be acted on by the community. We suggest that two or three should be a good starting point, with additional ones suggested later on if the community is so inclined.

We strongly suggest that if the house of worship is a community that has home and community gardens, that be a selected as one of the calls to action. It is the low hanging fruit in the food waste arena – plus it will help the food pantry get more food for free for years to come.

Are there any calls to action for the clergy?

Yes. Above and beyond participating in Food Waste Weekend, if the house of worship hosts a food pantry, the clergy should absolutely work with the food pantry manager to get them registered at  so that local gardeners and other donors can contribute excess fresh food instead of letting it go to waste. This should be done, if possible, before Food Waste Weekend.

Which faiths are invited to participate?

This is open to the entire faith community. Food Waste Weekend’s documents specific to Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu and Unitarian/Universalists traditions as well as a secular version are available at Any clergy outside of these faiths is free to adopt the material to their own faith tradition.

How much does it cost to participate in Food Waste Weekend?

Food Waste Weekend is free.

If Food Waste Weekend is free, why are you asking for contributions?

Food Waste Weekend is indeed free, but putting it on comes with significant costs including staff, technology, customer service, creating the materials that will be used, and a lot more. Your donation to, a nationwide 501c3 nonprofit, helps to underwrite the cost of the event.

We’d love to help support the Food Waste Weekend program but we do not give grants or donations to religious organizations. is not a religious organization nor is it affiliated with any particular religious organization or faith per se. does however work with all faiths where appropriate as part of a larger effort to eliminate food waste and therefore hunger.

What can I do in a non-faith/secular environment?

A secular version of the documents is available for any non-faith participants.

How can I participate if I’m not involved with a house of worship?

You can help Food Waste Weekend and more importantly, help reduce food waste, by making sure that the houses of worship in your community are aware of Food Waste Weekend.

I love the idea of giving a sermon on food waste and helping my congregation do something about it, but we’re already committed to another topic on that weekend. Can we do this at a later date?

Yes. We realized that some clergy plan their sermons months in advance and some faith organizations have a schedule of topics – either of which would make it impossible to do a food waste sermon on Food Waste Weekend.  If you are in one of those buckets, please do sign up and enter that you’ll doing the sermon but at a later date. You can download the sermon whenever you want and do it on a date that works better for you.

I can not commit to participating in Food Waste Weekend until I get an “ok” from a committee at my house of worship. What should I do?

Sign up and specify that you do not know if you’ll be able to do it or not. We’ll reach out to you before the weekend to see what was decided.

Should we invite the local media to cover the service?

Absolutely, yes! Reach out to the local TV, radio and newspapers. The more coverage you get, the better. Urge them to include the hashtag #FoodWasteWeekend in their coverage to help others to also read/view it.

Is Food Waste Weekend an annual event?


What can I do about food waste?

There are a lot of ways you can reduce the waste of food in America. Ask your clergy to join and get the information for you.

I am very involved in the faith community on a nationwide level and would love to help.

We’d love your help.  Email and lets talk.

Where can I find media information?

Visit to learn about  You can contact or @GaryOppenheimer for further media inquiries.

I want to help promote Food Waste Weekend. What is the #hashtag?