Hunger In The Media, Updates

Celebrating Juneteenth: Honoring History Through Community and Food

June 19, 2024

Illustration by Amanda K Bailey

Juneteenth, celebrated annually on June 19th, is a significant day in American history. It marks the emancipation of the last enslaved Black Americans in Galveston, Texas, in 1865—more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued. Juneteenth is a time for reflection, celebration, and community, and at We Don’t Waste, we recognize the important role that food plays in these festivities.

Food and Juneteenth: A Celebration of Culture and Resilience

Food has always been central to Juneteenth celebrations. Traditional dishes like barbecue, red velvet cake, and collard greens are staples at gatherings, symbolizing unity, resilience, and the rich cultural heritage of Black communities. Red foods and drinks, in particular, hold special significance, representing the bloodshed and sacrifices of those who fought for freedom and the resilience of the Black American spirit.

However, while many celebrate with abundance, it’s crucial to acknowledge that food insecurity remains a pressing issue for many families. Access to nutritious and culturally significant foods is not a reality for all, and this disparity is a reminder of the ongoing struggles faced by marginalized communities.

Food insecurity disproportionately affects Black communities, reflecting broader systemic inequalities. In fact, the USDA reported that in 2022, 1 in 5 Black Americans experienced food insecurity. Approximately 5% of the greater Denver county identifies as African American, and about 10% of those living in the Denver metropolitan area. There are tens of thousands of Black Americans that will experience food insecurity at some point this year. 

By rescuing surplus food and providing no-cost food access across our community, We Don’t Waste aims to bridge this gap and support families in celebrating every day with dignity and nourishment. We provide food to several local Black-led nonprofits that, in turn, provide food access as a part of their programs to holistically take care of our neighbors. Some examples of these incredible partners are Struggle of Love Foundation, Street Fraternity, and the Second Chance Center. 

Food is more than sustenance; it is a means of bringing people together, preserving traditions, and fostering a sense of belonging. 

Join Us in the Fight Against Food Insecurity

As we celebrate Juneteenth, let’s keep in the mind the importance of food in our cultural celebrations and the pressing need to address food insecurity. Together, we can make a difference. Your support helps us rescue more food, reach more families, and honor the spirit of Juneteenth by ensuring that everyone has access to nutritious meals.

Join us in our mission to reduce food waste and fight hunger. Volunteer, donate, or partner with We Don’t Waste and be part of a community dedicated to making a meaningful impact!

A crowd celebrates the Juneteenth Festival in 2021 in Colorado.

A crowd celebrates the Juneteenth Festival in 2021 in Colorado.