Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year - approximately 1.3 billion tons - gets lost or wasted. However, Bread Break, founded by Mike and Jean Bauman, of Sioux Falls is helping to decrease that statistic through their food-harvesting mission. The Bauman's efforts to reduce food waste in our community was instilled at a young age.
"My parents grew up during the Great Depression, where food and resources were scarce. As a child, our family was taught to never throw away any food. It was almost criminal to do so," Mike explained.
Since 2011, Bread Break has been partnering with local restaurants, cafeterias, bakeries and catering establishments to collect perfectly good, unused prepared food that is then frozen and distributed to local agencies to help feed underserved individuals.
"It's amazing all the good you can accomplish from a really simple thing. We simply are preserving food that otherwise would be thrown away, but the impact is tremendous," Mike said.
What started out as only bread donations from partners such as Breadico, Breadsmith and Panera Bread has grown into specialty foods from Red Lobster, Outback Steakhouse, Pizza Ranch and KFC, to name a few. Last year alone Bread Break repurposed 131,000 pounds of food.
The Berakhah House and Veterans Outreach are Volunteers of America, Dakotas' programs that are benefitting from Bread Break's support.
"Last month, we received over $6,000 worth of food. It is incredible that we are able to supply steak and seafood dinners to our at-risk veterans. We are so appreciative," Chris Nelson, Director of Veterans Services, said.
For Mike, there is a greater benefit from his work than just preventing food waste. "It makes me feel really good helping veterans that have done so much for our country. It's one of the greatest things I have done."
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer with Bread Break to assist with food delivery or are wanting to partner as a food provider, simply contact Mike Bauman at 605-496-9358.