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Waterloo Region businesses turn to Second Harvest to prevent food waste


Second Harvest has made it their mission to rescue untouched food from businesses and get it into the hands of people who need it most.

“We really have a lot of work to do when it comes to food waste in our country,” said Dan Collings, Second Harvest’s senior manager of Ontario operations.

Getting unsold food to needy families is easier than ever.

Using the Second Harvest Food Rescue app, businesses can donate their left over items to community organizations like the Cambridge Food Bank.

“We have extra bread, drinks, some produce that needs to be eaten that day... people really rely on that service,” explained Dianne McLeod, the executive director of the Cambridge Food Bank.

Since the program launched locally in 2018, over five million pounds of food has been collected.

“We found that 58 per cent of food in Canada is wasted, which is terrible to hear, and 32 per cent of that is avoidable,” said Collings. “Today, we’ve only scratched the surface of that and rescued only 4 per cent of the available food.”

There are currently 49 organizations registered for the program in Waterloo Region.

One of their community partners is Starbucks, who has donated a staggering number of items.

“We’ve done 7,500 meals,” said Taylor MacLean, Starbuck’s store manager for the Sportsworld location in Kitchener. “There are 15 other stores [participating], that’s over a 100,000 meals that just Starbucks Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge is donating back to the community.”

Since Second Harvest first launched in 1985, the organization said they’ve redirected 71 million pounds of food that would have gone directly to landfills.

The Cambridge Food Bank wants the community to know that every donation counts.

“We rely on that food, especially considering the increase in need. So we’re really thankful for our retail partners,” McLeod added.

The food bank creates meals from fresh items and donations that cannot be consumed by humans is then donated to their partners who use it as animal feed. Anything left over from there, will be composted.

“Knowing that we’re contributing just by donating our food, at the end of the day everyone feels so warm inside, we say it fills our cup,” MacLean said.

If you’re interested in becoming a Second Harvest community partner you can to visit their website or get in touch with the Cambridge Food Bank. Top Stories

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