We're seeing it happen in real time. Restaurants are closing or reducing operations to take out only. Corporate cafeterias abandoned as employees work from home, and hotels that have no guests, but still have all that fresh food.
"It allows them a free and easy way to connect with hunger relief agencies that can pick up that food within a very short window so they're not paying for transportation, and they can get that food out to those most in need in a pretty quick turnaround time," says Mary Jane Melendez with General Mills.
Melendez is talking about MealConnect. It's an app they created with Feeding America during the Minneapolis Super Bowl. Back then they were able to capture 150,000 pounds of excess food from event centers, restaurants and caterers and get it to meal programs fast. And now, it can be used in the wave of shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“You can get a tax donation receipt for that contribution that you make, so businesses actually have the opportunity to be thoughtful about having this count as a charitable contribution, at the same time they are helping to nourish families and children who are in need at this time,” she says.
General Mills does this with their corporate cafeteria every week, and now that many employees are working from home, they had even more fresh food to donate.
"And just yesterday they sent more than a thousand pounds of food that would have been used for lunch for General Mills employees and actually were able to donate that food to Loaves and Fishes here locally who is going to turn that into meals today to feed those who are most in need,” she says.
And not for nothing, it could keep thousands and thousands of pounds of food out of our landfills.
“It's a small act but think about the difference we can make if all of these businesses are signing onto that app and getting that food to the right place at the right time to make sure that it is consumed and doesn't go to waste,” says Melendez.
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