Darden Harvest Aims to Put an End to Hunger
Darden Restaurants, owner of restaurants like Olive Garden and Red Lobster, believes people are their most valuable resource. That being said, they have dedicated much of their time and money to helping end world hunger and poverty.
Their program, Darden Harvest, coordinates food donations to food banks and other charitable organizations across the country.
How it works:
When leftover foods from restaurants are not served to guests, it is packaged, frozen and stored in the restaurant. Nonprofit organizations travel to these restaurants weekly to pick up the food and then donate it to food banks.
The food is then served to those in need in the community. Throughout this process, the quality and safety of the food is ensured by Darden Restaurants’ employees.
What is donated?
Darden Restaurants focuses on donating foods that have a positive impact on health. Twenty-eight percent of the foods donated are vegetables, 27 percent are proteins, 19 percent are soups, 18 percent are pastas and breads, and eight percent are other food items and desserts.
Since it started in 2003, Darden Harvest has donated more than six million pounds of surplus food to families in need, which is the equivalent of 89 million meals served. Nearly 49 million Americans suffer from hunger, with over 165 million dollars’ worth of food being thrown into landfills each year.
Every year, Darden Harvest observes World Food Day by positively impacting the lives of underprivileged people through food donations. In their 2013 fiscal year, Darden Restaurants donated over 11 million pounds of food to hunger-ridden families.
Darden Restaurants’ team of over 200,000 members has contributed to ending hunger. Just last month, Darden Restaurants created a program to help people feed their families during the busy school semester with their “Buy one, take one” program, which allows families to purchase one meal and take another one home to serve on another night.
– Julia Hettiger