Often times restaurants end up throwing away food at the end of the night, but Starbucks has recently teamed up with the Greater Chicago Food Depository to find a more useful purpose for their leftover food.
Hunger is a worldwide issue alongside food waste which makes it seem like we have the means to fix both issues, but this is a larger task than most people assume. The challenge comes not from supply or demand, but from a more logistical perspective: getting the food from those who have it to those who need it.
This is why Starbucks has partnered with the Greater Chicago Food Depository and will now be donating their unused product to those in need. The Greater Chicago Food Depository is what is actually connecting these dots and making things work, according to the Chicagoist.
With over 200 Starbucks locations in Chicago and 118 already signed to the project this partnership has the potential to have a real impact. The left over snacks and meals get picked up by the Chicago Greater Food Depository and are distributed to shelters including the Olive Branch Mission, the Pacific Garden Mission and the House of Mary and Joseph.
“We’re starting at 118 [locations], and we’re planning to scale it to all stores,” Greater Chicago Food Depository Communications Director Jim Conwell told the Chicagoist. “If we’re going to be picking up food and taking it directly to our partner agencies, we have to make sure it’s time and temperature controlled. Our drivers go out nightly around 9 p.m., going to all these Starbucks locations, retrieving the food from cold storage.”
The amount of food picked up averages 2000-3000 pounds daily, providing nearly 1500 meals to mouths that are watering with anticipation. In addition to donating the leftover foods, Starbucks also supplies meals that have already been packaged which allows those in need to take a meal outside the shelter. This only further increased food access and security for recipients.
The project has been running for six weeks now with tremendous success on a logistical end. The Greater Chicago Food Depository has expanded their operation to accommodate for such a large provider by adding extra vans, drivers, and hours. Chicago is the largest market Starbucks has attempted to try this program with by delivering meals to those in need.