Food Waste Program Report

Here in the United States, we throw away 40% of our food supply every year.

Food in our landfills ferments and produces methane gas.

According to the Environmental Defense Fund, while methane doesn’t linger as long in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, it is initially far more devastating to the climate because of how effectively it absorbs heat. In the first two decades after its release, methane is 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas.

While contributing to climate change, that wasted food could have fed people who simply don’t have enough to eat in our country. How can we work together to change these statistics?

On Thursday, March 15, the Creation Justice Team at Douglas UCC welcomed Tracey Shafroth, national and local environmentalist, to speak with us on the subject of food waste. She defined the problem for us and helped us understand how communities and individuals are working together to help curb the problem.

Here, along with Tracey’s presentation, is a list of resources we can explore to understand food waste and address it in our home and community. Do you have other resources or ideas? Please contact us to let us know.

Download Tracey Shafroth’s Food Waste PowerPoint File

Explore Food Waste

Reduce Food Waste at Home

Eating Foods In Season

Help Fund Programs that Fight Food Waste in Our Cities

Food pantries within 25 of Douglas, MI:

Christian Neighbors, Inc. (Douglas) (0.4 miles)
(269)857-1050 | 100 Saint Peters Drive, Douglas MI, 49406

Ladders of Hope USA Inc. (6.4 miles)
(269)340-1113 | 717 E. Main Street, Fennville MI, 49408

Shekinah Revival Ministries (7.7 miles)
(616)392-5945 | 1941 Washington Ave., Holland MI, 49423

Providence CRC Pantry (9.4 miles)
(616)396-5661 | 821 Ottawa Avenue, Holland MI, 49423

Hamilton CRC (10.4 miles)
(269)751-8877 | 3596 47th Street, Hamilton MI, 49419

Community Action House (10.6 miles)
(616)392-2368 | 345 West 14th Street, Holland MI, 49423

Holland Spanish SDA Church (10.7 miles)
(517)331-8332 | 169 W. 16th Street, Holland MI, 49423

St. Vincent dePaul Center/St. Frances deSales-Holland (10.8 miles)
(616)392-6700 | 170 W. 13th Street, Holland MI, 49423

Salvation Army – Holland (12.0 miles)
(616)392-4461 | 104 Clover Street, Holland MI, 49423

Love INC of Northwest Allegan County-Pullman (12.2 miles)
(269)236-6295 | 943 56th Street, Pullman MI, 49450

Heights of Hope (12.4 miles)
(616)392-8559 | 995 E. 8th Street, Holland MI, 49423

Community Action House – North (12.9 miles)
(616)738-1170 | 665 136th Avenue STE 60, Holland MI, 49424

His Harvest Stand Pantry (14.7 miles)
(616)748-6003 | 100 South Pine Street, Suite 100, Zeeland MI, 49464

First Congregational South Haven-We Care Food Pantry (16.8 miles)
(269)637-4342 | 651 Phoenix Street, South Haven MI, 49090

Christ Embassy/IMA (17.9 miles)
(269)925-8583 | 1301 M-43 Hwy Ste #4, South Haven MI, 49090

Church of Christ – South Haven (18.2 miles)
(269)637-4861 | 73121 M-43, South Haven MI, 49090

In His Name Ministries/JJMWM (22.7 miles)
(616)896-1570 | 4055 Van Buren, Hudsonville MI, 49426

Carpenter’s House Outreach Church (22.9 miles)
(616)662-2660 | 4995 32nd Avenue, Hudsonville MI, 49426

Love INC – Hudsonville (23.4 miles)
(616)662-3300 | 3300 Van Buren, Hudsonville MI, 49426

St. Vincent DePaul Society – Bangor (23.7 miles)
(269)427-8009 | 201 South Walnut, Bangor MI, 49013

Van Buren United Civic Organization (24.1 miles)
(269)764-8854 | 73292 34th Avenue, Covert MI, 49043

First Congregational Church of Covert (24.3 miles)
(269)906-0906 | 73893 34th Ave., Covert MI, 49043

Epiphany Lutheran Church Pantry (25.0 miles)
(616)681-7205 | 4219 Park Lane, Dorr MI, 49323

Christian Fellowship Assembly Pantry (25.0 miles)
(616)895-7614 | 9930 64th Avenue, Allendale MI, 49401

Before visiting any pantry, we suggest calling ahead to confirm their hours and eligibility requirements.

(This food pantry data courtesy of


What a Waste: Food Waste and Our Future

What a Waste: Food Waste and Our Future
Thursday, March 15, 6:30pm
Douglas UCC Friendship Hall
56 Wall Street, Douglas, MI
Program is free, public is welcome.

On Thursday, March 15, the Creation Justice Team’s next environmental education program entitled What A Waste: Food Waste and Our Future, presenting local and national Environmentalist Tracey Shafroth, who will teach us about the impact of food waste on our environment and steps we can take at home and in the world to help curb it. Tracey serves on the Michigan Advisory Board of the Environmental Law and Policy Center, on the Midwest Council of the National Parks Conservation Association, is a fellow and member of the Keller Science Action Center at the Field Museum, a strategic advisor to the Vital Lands Program of the Grand Victoria Foundation, and a volunteer for Freshwater Futures. We will open the doors of the Friendship Hall at 6:30pm for dessert and coffee. Tracey’s talk will begin at 7pm, with time afterward questions and more conversation. This event is open to the public. Please encourage your friends and neighbors to join us.

How About a Carbon Fast for Lent?

Michigan Interfaith Power and Light offers this Carbon Fast Calendar. We thought it made a great way to update our Lenten traditions. They write:

Why fast?
Most religious traditions have some form of fasting as part of their spiritual practice. The Muslim season of Ramadan is perhaps the most widely known and practiced form of fasting worldwide. For many Christians, the season of Lent is associated with fasting as part of the preparation for Easter.

As a spiritual practice, fasting purifies us and sharpens our intentions. Like pebbles in our shoe, the hunger pangs of traditional fasting are a steady reminder of an intention to leave behind an old way of life and to prepare for spiritual rebirth. The feeling of hunger prompts a continued awareness of the need to become more conscientious in our actions and to whole-heartedly commit to the inward transformation we seek. Fasting also reminds us to keep in our hearts the plight of the poor and the imperative to care for the least of these.

Many of us grew up “giving something up” for Lent—candy, meat, or other pleasures—only to gleefully indulge in the forbidden item when the season passed. While going without something we enjoy gives us a taste of sacrifice, it often does not bring about a substantial inner change.

Whatever your religious persuasion, our intent with this Carbon Fast is to suggest practices that will go beyond merely “giving up” some conveniences temporarily, but will support a deeper transformation in your relationship with Earth.

Why carbon?

Because carbon dioxide (CO2) is a heat-trapping gas and key driver of global warming, reducing carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions is a matter of great urgency.
Those who are being affected most severely by climate change— including millions of people in the developing world who have already lost their homes and livelihoods— are those whose own carbon footprints are the smallest, and who have the fewest resources to cope with the fallout. Reducing our carbon emissions is as much a matter of caring for Creation as it is of protecting the least of these.

*In an effort to keep the calendar fresh, we’ve broadened the types of suggested activities to include water protection and conservation. While some of these are not technically carbon-reducing, we feel they keep the spirit of the fast.

How to use this calendar

This calendar suggests one sustainability-related activity for each day between Ash Wednesday and Easter. Some of these might be things you’re already doing. Some require a little preparation. Some may be challenging or even uncomfortable.
If doing one activity each day seems overwhelming, you might instead choose one activity each week and repeat it each day. Or choose one action and do it for the whole season.

Since Christians are called to dwell in community—to share in one another’s burdens and joys, and to work together as members of one body— we encourage you to see if members of your congregation or family want to participate in the Carbon Fast with you.
As we take steps to do our part— changing the ways we drive our cars, heat and cool our buildings, consume food and other goods—we also recognize that personal lifestyle changes alone are not sufficient. Therefore, we hope this fast helps you be a witness for the cry of the Earth and promote systemic change— as a member of your community and as a citizen.

In this time of repentance and rebirth, we hope above all that this calendar will be a tool for spurring action and reflection, helping us right our relationship with the Earth, in this season and beyond.

Download the calendar here.

This Changes Everything.

On Wednesday night, November 8, Douglas UCC’s Creation Justice Team brings you the movie based on Naomi Klein’s book, “This Changes Everything.”

The New York Times called Klein’s work “The most momentous and contentious environmental book since Silent Spring.”

So we thought: Let’s watch this film and then talk about it as a congregation. What does this work reveal to us, about ourselves and about our work here?

Come along, bring your friends and family. We will have coffee, tea, water, snacks.

We open the doors at 6 for snacks and visiting. We will start the movie at 6:30, discussion follows at 8, with Eric LeJeune facilitating.

Recycling Event and more Recycling Resources

Hey church family!

The Creation Justice team just wants to remind church members that we will be parking a large recycling truck outside the friendship hall this coming Thursday, September 21, from 4 to 6pm. This is a Metal Recycling Event, and the truck will take metal posts, exercise equipment, garage door springs, old grills, vacuum cleaners, filing cabinets, broken appliances, pumps, electrical cords and wires, old Christmas lights, motors, brass and copper, aluminum screens and siding, metal shelving, computers, printers, batteries, and much more! If it’s METAL and has a cord, we will take it.

BUT we cannot take old-style tube televisions or CRT monitors.

Many of you have asked where you can take other items you need to recycle, things like batteries and plastic printers and old style monitors, etc.

The best local resource for finding other recycling opportunities is on our friend Ken Freestone’s Green Michigan website at this link.

Another great place to search is at Earth911, at this link.

We have added a permanent link to these resources on this blog site in the navigation bar, above, for future reference!

Namaste, and happy recycling!


Volunteers Needed: Adopt-A-Beach Douglas Beach Cleanup

Saturday, September  16th

9am  to  approximately 1pm

Please contact Sarah Morgan if you can join us: 512-422-7597

  • Volunteers will meet at Douglas UCC for instructions and then and carpool to Douglas Beach
  • Volunteers will be assigned in teams of 3
    • 1 in charge of categorizing/ tracking what is collected
    • 2 to pick up everything that doesn’t belong on the beach!
  • Teams will be assigned to sections between Douglas Beach and Oval Beach
  • Dress for comfort and function! Bring your own water and snacks.
  • Plan is to convene at a local restaurant afterwards.
  • Our group is open to the public so non-church members welcome
  • We will be emailing all volunteers with more details.

Join the hundreds of volunteers from 6 states who will be cleaning the shores of Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, Lake Huron, Lake Ontario, and Lake Erie!

To learn more about the Adopt-a-Beach effort visit the website of the Great Lakes Alliance


Making Our Lakes Great Again

On September 14, as part of Douglas UCC’s month-long Creation Justice Season, we will hear from former state senator and former director of Michigan’s Office of the Great Lakes, Patty Birkholz. Ms. Birkholz is a Saugatuck native who continues in her role as protector of Michigan’s waterways by serving on the boards of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), and NOAA, among her many points of service and leadership.

Ms. Birkholz remains very active in the work of protecting and preserving the Great Lakes, and will talk to us about the recent challenges to the GLRI (Spoiler! It is not all bad news!), and will steer us through the various groups contributing to these efforts, so we can each decide where and how we can help this work along.

This event is free and open to the West Michigan community.

The details:

September 14, Making Our Lakes Great Again

DUCC Friendship Hall, 56 Wall St., Douglas, MI

6:30pm, social time, dessert, coffee and tea

7:00pm, program begins

Please sign up for this event in the Friendship Hall at Douglas UCC or by writing to We would like to have your RSVPs so we can plan for our table of desserts and light snacks, coffee and tea service. This is not a potluck, but if you feel inclined to share something, sharing is always nice.