Starbucks is crediting the employees in their local stores for brewing up a plan to donate 100% of the company’s leftover food to charities that feed the hungry.
The ready-to-eat offerings from all 7,600 U.S. stores are expected to add up to 50 million meals over the next five years.
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Starbucks has been donating leftover pastries to food charities since 2010, but the company’s food safety policies required workers to throw out salads and other pre-packaged meals. Store employees, seeing how much food was being thrown away each day, wanted the company to do more.
American businesses often worry about legal liabilities they’d face if someone gets sick because of food they donated. But, contrary to those beliefs, a 20 year-old law has offered wide ranging protections since 1996 to companies that have donated food to charity.
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Restaurant chains Chipotle, Olive Garden, KFC and Taco Bell, and are among the companies that have started donating leftover food. Many local restaurants and smaller chains also donate food with less attention.
The coffee mega-chain is working with two charities, Food Donation Connection and Feeding America, to get the meals to distribution centers and pantries that already feed the hungry.
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“This food is going to make a difference,” Kienan McFadden, a Starbucks store manager said. “Rescuing food in this way from being thrown away will change lives. It makes me proud to know our partners are the heroes in this.”
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