MSP Donating Unused Food to Aid Loaves and Fishes

December 21, 2017 06:55 PM

The Minneapolis - St. Paul International Airport (MSP) feeds thousands of travelers every day.

Now the airport is helping Loaves and Fishes MN serve free meals to Minnesotans in need.


A unique partnership kicked off Thursday.

RELATED: Minnesota Moment: Loaves and Fishes Hand Out Winter Gear

Loaves and Fishes is collecting ready-to-eat food donations from HMSHost, which operates 30 restaurants at the airport. 

"In the past, that food would be thrown away" said Butch Howard, the HMSHost senior director of operations. "And you know it would go to waste.

"Now it's got a second life and it goes to a great purpose for our community."

Three times a week, a Loaves and Fishes staff member arrives at MSP's loading docks in a full-size cargo van to pick up the ready-to-eat food.

The items are then taken back to Loaves and Fishes' warehouse where they are distributed among their many meal sites, given to partners for their respective meal programs, sent out with a street outreach team to be passed out to homeless communities or given to a recovery community that depends on donations for food. 

Loaves and Fishes believes the food will feed thousands of people every week.  

"This new partnership will help Loaves and Fishes continue down its path of strong growth," said Cathy Maes, Loaves and Fishes' executive director.

"Over the last three years alone, we have expanded the number of meals served by 63 percent. Having access to high-quality, donated food, like that which the airport can provide, allows us to not only expand our services, but gives our guests access to food they otherwise wouldn't experience."

Most of the food donated are salads, sandwiches, yogurts and fruits.

"This food is very fresh," Howard said. "It's not even 24 hours old, and it's got a shelf life of a couple more days."

The Metropolitan Airports Commission is working to include more restaurants. And eventually left-over prepared food will be donated too.

The airport partnership is part of Loaves and Fishes' Zero Percent Food Recovery program aimed at reducing food waste. 

Loaves and Fishes served more than 500,000 free meals in seven Minnesota counties last year.


Kevin Doran

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