Alex George Poulos, a Naples, Florida native, developed a strong social conscience at an early age following a brief encounter with a homeless man he gave a small sum of money to. “I saw his humanity,” he says today. “It’s something that I have never forgotten. I was safe, sitting in my dad’s car, and handing this poor guy five bucks. I was only about ten years old and couldn’t understand how someone could be reduced to that – to standing by the road with one of those ‘will work for food’ signs.”
That memory remains strong in the adult Alex George Poulos from Naples. He has volunteered many hours of his time with Habitat for Humanity in Atlanta, where he currently lives and works, and is the founder of Food on the Table, a nonprofit that collects and distributes nutritious surplus food that is otherwise destined for the garbage.
He says that he was inspired to launch Food on the Table after seeing a newspaper article about a local group of people called Freegans. “I’d never heard of the concept before,” Alex George Poulos from Naples says. “These people, these Freegans – they essentially live off of stuff they reclaim from the garbage. According to that article they can find all sorts of stuff, but it was the food aspect that really got my attention.” The Freegans had developed a system of retrieving edible foods from trash dumpsters behind restaurants – “The waste is unbelievable,” he says. The retrieved food is still perfectly good.
“So I took that idea, and with a lot of talking and arranging and bargaining, I’ve set up a system of reclaiming and distributing food to those who need it most.” He says it a sense it is a glorified food bank, but through his efforts thousands of homeless people in the Atlanta area have found a reliable food source in Food on the Table.