Overland Park Convention Center partners with local food rescue organization to address large-scale event food waste and hunger in the community.
OVERLAND PARK, KAN. – The Overland Park Convention Center announced a partnership with Pete’s Garden, a food recovery organization that recovers surplus prepared foods from local caterers, restaurants and food service operations, and repackages and redirects the food as healthy take-home meals for families who need assistance in the greater Kansas City area.
The take-home meals are distributed for free through social service organizations that serve families with children. Current recipients include Kansas City area Head Start programs and social service organizations, including Operation Breakthrough, Boys & Girls Club, Jewish Family Services, Avenue of Life and Shawnee Community Services.
“Pete’s Garden makes it easier for families to share healthy meals together at home,” said Tamara Weber, founder and executive director of Pete’s Garden. “To ensure food safety and provide fresh and healthy meals to families, Pete’s Garden is very selective about what food can be donated. The Overland Park Convention Center has demonstrated exemplary adherence to these food safety standards.”
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, food waste is estimated to be between 30 and 40% of the entire food supply. In 2022, Pete’s Garden recovered nearly 70,000 pounds of prepared proteins and side dishes and distributed over 75,000 meals to local families. By collaborating with the convention center, they can make an even greater impact.
“Minimizing food waste is a significant challenge in the hospitality industry, especially in larger venues like ours,” said Jessica Corona, director of food and beverage at the Overland Park Convention Center. “To tackle this issue, we have implemented a two-pronged approach: first, by donating prepared food to those in need, and second, through food composting as a part of our current sustainability program. We are always seeking ways to be more sustainable while also being a people-focused organization – what better way to meet this goal then by serving those in our local community.”
Pete’s Garden accepts food only if it has been prepared in a health department inspected kitchen, and handled and stored in accordance with safe time-temperature standards. Volunteers then package the meals in a commercial kitchen facility overseen by food safety certified staff. All meals are labeled with a use-by date.
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