Super Bowl Food Rescue Efforts Results in Recovery of 152,824 Pounds of Food
At the beginning of February, the Twin Cities was in the national spotlight as the host of one of the most-watched events, the Super Bowl.
As the beneficiary of many local events and partnerships, Second Harvest Heartland was proud to be part of the community coming together to help end hunger. But perhaps the most exciting opportunity were the efforts around supporting this year’s mission to become a zero-waste event.
Volunteers, local meal program partners and our Food Rescue team were at the forefront of these exciting efforts and helped facilitate the recovery of 152,824 pounds of food from Super Bowl and NFL-related events within a two-week period around the big game.
The food collected included prepared items not served to the public, cooked and raw ingredients, dry goods and beverages – all quickly turned into meals for some of the one in 10 hungry Minnesotans reached by our meal program partners. Here's just one example of a meal created from some of the rescued food.
Most collections were large and required trucks to haul pallets full of food. Some of the meal program partners including Loaves and Fishes, Salvation Army ARC, Catholic Charities and People Serving People were on call to collect these larger donations and bring them directly back to their program locations for nearly immediate use.
For other rescue efforts, we relied on a specially-recruited group of volunteers to rescue and deliver smaller donations to residential meal programs. Each volunteer dedicated time in advance to be trained in safe food handling and transportation. This commitment allowed us to reach out to smaller caterers and venues to offer them the opportunity to donate excess food, ultimately reaching even more of our hungry neighbors.
These efforts have helped advance our Prepared Food Rescue program pilot. To bring prepared food donation opportunities to scale, we’re also considering how technology plays a role. Through, the new MealConnect™ program, a technology platform made possible through a grant from General Mills, food donors can connect to local food banks and their partners to arrange for food pickups, track donations and record receipts.