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Rock and Wrap It Up takes leftovers from big events to feed the hungry

leftovers110209_optBY NATHAN KING
VOA NEWS

NEW YORK — Major sporting events and rock concerts generate thousands of kilograms of uneaten food which is often simply thrown away after the event is over. Now one charity is collecting that leftover food and distributing it to the needy. Rock and Wrap It Up provides 100,000 meals a week to the hungry — meals made up of leftover hot dogs, hamburgers, and other food from sporting events, rock concerts, political rallies, film shoots and other events.

There is a championship game tonight at New York's Yankee Stadium, but Syd Mandelbaum is happy to be outside.

As the game ends, Syd's job is just beginning. As the founder of Rock and Wrap It Up, he has an agreement with baseball's New York Yankees. All uneaten food from Yankee Stadium's concession stands goes to local people in need.

"They understand that they can help their local communities by partnering with us and ensuring that the food does go to those that are in need," he said.

Once the game is over, the food is wrapped up and sent out for delivery. Tonight's beneficiary is the nearby Woodycrest Church, just a few blocks from the Yankees new $1.5 billion stadium. Pastor Denise Pickett and church volunteers help get the job done.

"The need is great. The first time when Rock and Wrap It Up came up, we fed approximately 150 people," he explained.

The food from Yankee Stadium will feed many New Yorkers. A line quickly forms.

"We thank you, oh God for how the Yankees and Rock and Wrap It Up is reaching out to the communit," he added.

Many families in this New York neighborhood known as the Bronx have lived in poverty for generations.

WOMAN: "I moved here in 1954 and this is the first time that I have seen this outpouring to the community."

MAN: "I live down the street and it is a great blessing to have food from there being donated to us."

Rock and Wrap It Up was founded 18 years ago to feed hungry people and also provide them with necessities like toiletries donated by hotels.

Mandelbaum says he wants groups who help the poor to focus on other things besides food.

"They could hire tutors, they could hire job placement programs," he said.

This scene is in New York, but it could soon be in Barcelona, Birmingham or Budapest. Mandelbaum says he wants to take Rock and Wrap It Up across the Atlantic, where he says European football teams can help fight hunger and poverty in their own communities.

 

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