This Earth Day, Elizabeth Olsen wants to help you join the fight against domestic hunger

Last November, award-winning actress Elizabeth Olsen was enjoying her morning coffee when she spotted an article in The New York Times that detailed the plight of migrant workers in the Salinas Valley. She was deeply disturbed when she learned about their lack of access to fresh food and produce, so Olsen teamed up with Feeding America — the country’s largest domestic hunger relief organization.

Olsen was eager to get involved in the food waste movement, and she saw an opportunity to use her platform to raise awareness about how many people in the United States are actually malnourished or food insecure — an issue that doesn’t get nearly enough attention.

Less than a month after reading the article, Olsen had already begun volunteering for the organization. In a newly-published blog post on Feeding America’s website, Olsen shares her perspective on the issue — and why she hopes we’ll all get involved.

"As a California native, I was shocked to learn that 21% of fresh water is used to produce food that is then discarded," Olsen writes. "Another shocking statistic I learned is 72 billion pounds of food are lost each year, not including waste at home. In our country, 42 million people do not have enough to eat."

If you’re equally upset about these statistics (who wouldn’t be?), Olsen suggests that the best way to get involved is to educate ourselves, find volunteer opportunities, and then share our knowledge with our communities. Most of us have been taught to “act locally, think globally” — and this is the perfect opportunity to embrace that advice.

Don’t know where to start? Olsen’s got us covered with a few suggestions.

1Find your local food bank

Click here to identify your local food bank, then contact them to ask if there are any local volunteer opportunities. Feeding America’s network of food banks distributes 4 billion meals per year through food pantries and meal programs, and you can be a part of it.

2Contact companies that participate in food rescue

Over 100 companies ensure that their stores and manufacturers send unused food to food banks and food pantries across America. Click here to see a complete list, and send them a thank you message for their participation in this important movement.

3Reach out to your neighborhood restaurants and grocery stores

In her blog post, Olsen suggests contacting our local restaurants and grocery stores and encouraging them to join the fight against food waste.

She adds that, in addition to taking action, it’s up to us to educate the people in our lives about food waste — after all, many of us were unaware of the issue.

"As we work together to repurpose food to those who are hungry, let us not forget we have a continued responsibility to educate. We can provide food for people facing hunger, but a full stomach can still lead to diseases and malnourishment," Olsen writes.

Let’s celebrate Earth Day by getting involved with Feeding America and helping those who are denied the basic human right to fresh food and produce.

Read Elizabeth Olsen’s full blog for Feeding America here.