Working as a restaurant manager, Brett Meyers said he saw firsthand the amount of food thrown out after closing each night.

He also saw on the news how many county families were in need, especially since the economy collapsed.

The thought of food going to waste was too much, he said. So, he decided to do something about it.

In September, Meyers founded the nonprofit organization Nourish Now, with a mission to work with restaurants and catering companies to deliver leftovers to residents at homeless shelters, low-income apartment buildings and other organizations.

Nine months later, Nourish Now is celebrating having picked up more than 20,000 pounds and delivering it to low-income residents at organizations and apartments across the county.

It has served more than 20 clients, such as Bethesda Cares, Helping Hands Shelter in Rockville, and Manna Food Center in Gaithersburg.

More than 18 restaurants or caterers participate, such as Panera Bread in Gaithersburg, which provides food twice a week, and Germantown-based High Point Catering, which provides between 90 to 200 meals a week.

Meyers said the first year has been busy, but he wants to do much more.

"I really started this to take it to a big scale," he said. "... We want to get the word out there that restaurants and catering companies can donate food that will go into the hands of people who really need it."

To find out more about Nourish Now, visit www.nourishnow.org.