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These friends rescued the harvest heading to the trash and helped turn food waste into millions of meals.

Los Angeles (CNN)When a group of college students put pandemic pain into action, they said the project was hunger and food waste. A national movement to work on things.

But that's exactly what theFarmlink Projecthas done since 2020, bringing together hundreds of young volunteers for nearly £ 77 million of extra food. Rescue and deliver to people in need. The organization's efforts help farmers, the environment, and those who are struggling to support their families at once.

"In the United States, 40 million Americans are suffering from food shortages. They don't know where their next meal will come from," said Aidan Reilly, co-founder of Farmlink. “In the meantime, the United States throws away more than £ 100 billion of food each year.”

Launched during the spring 2020 pandemic, Reilly said the project was initially struggling with families and food. He said he was supposed to support the bank.

"There was so much bad news," said Riley, a junior at Brown University at the time, attending classes away from his home in Los Angeles. "Economic collapse, political protests, social protests. I felt like there was little you could do about it."

Reilly and his childhood friend James Kanoff read the news about food shortages. I was watching at. They especially closed restaurants, schools and hotels.

"We were looking at a remarkable photo. It's like a pile of potatoes in someone's backyard or millions of gallons of milk dumped in the soil," Riley said. Said.

A core group of friends, including Reilly, Kanoff, and Will and James Collier of Connecticut, worked together via Zoom, text, and email to contact the farm from coast to coast.

"We didn't really intend to start a non-profit organization," Reilly said. "We just thought,'There are a lot of people suffering. It would be great if we could find a way to help.'"

In California, they had 13,000 eggs. I found a farmer who has. After donating, Riley offered to pick up and deliver herself.

CNN Hero Aidan Reilly
CNN Hero Aidan Reilly

"That was the first drive," Riley said. .. "I'm just trying to take an egg to a food bank on the 405 highway so that it can feed thousands of people, and the egg is bouncing behind and honking. . "

It was the first of many deliveries. With the catchphrase "We're going to you," the group rented a U-Haul truck and tried to pick up and deliver all the food themselves.

"There were a lot of problems at first," says Reilly. "We broke the axles ... we loaded 40,000 pounds of potatoes the wrong way (and) had to try to pull them out using another truck and rope. But I We made it work. "

The students were finally welcomed in the form of a grant from Uber Freight, with the help of a professional driver, a million. Moved over a pound of produce from the farm to the food bank. For two months, they turned their passionate project into a large-scale logistics business in the process. As the language spread, young people at home during the pandemic sought help.

"We were fortunate enough to get these people together first," Riley said. "Pounds of food have moved. This is due to the efforts of this group. They volunteer to provide as much time as possible to feed people they never meet.

Farmlink said Riley said that 100 farms and 300 communities in the United States have rescued and moved enough food to distribute more than 64 million meals. Daily Americans, you. And the people living next to me, I don't know how they feed their children, and that's exactly what we do. "

I want to join If so, check out theFarmlink Project website.
Click here to donate to the Farmlink project via GoFundMe