LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — 8 News Now has been tackling the food insecurity problem in the valley and the issue is concerning. The grim reality is that 1 in 9 Nevadans don’t know where their next meal will be coming from. Today our experts are weighing in on ways to help. 

“It’s hard to think that hunger is happening in our own backyards. The contradiction is that 40 percent of the food we produce in the U.S. goes to waste,” said Aubriana Martindale with Smith’s Groceries.  

She said the hunger problem in Nevada is alarming and the numbers are worse for children. 

“If we dig deeper, 1 in 6 children in the state of Nevada don’t know where their next meal is coming from – and that’s hard to think,” said Martindale. 

One solution Martindale said is rethinking those expiration dates we see on each food item we purchase. She said expiration dates are not regulated and that causes many items to get tossed in the trash.    

“It doesn’t mean that the food is bad. It just means that is the date set by the vendor saying this is the best “used by date” for peak quality or taste.” 

Some options experts said you should consider taking those items with near expiration dates and freeze them. Also if your fresh produce have any blemishes, peel the skin and get creative with recipes. 

Smith’s Groceries has joined the fight with their zero hunger-zero waste policy, which includes an effort to eliminate food waste in the company by 2025. 

“If you get an apple and it has a blemish on it, we will mark that produce down and put them in a red bag and it goes on the red bag rack,” said Martindale. “That is for reduced sell items from the produce department. We leave that there for a day if customers want to purchase it for that sale price. If it doesn’t get sold we donate it to a food bank like Three Square.” 

We will have more on this issue that is impacting so many around the valley coming up on our 8 News Now special on August 27.