Saturday, April 13, 2013

Salvaging Leftovers from the Luxury Suites at Broncos Stadium

By all accounts, football is the most popular spectator sport in the United States, drawing millions of fans to 32 stadiums around the country. Those fans spend a big portion of their entertainment budget on tickets, but also on parking and food.

While NFL teams are trying to keep fans happy by providing an increasingly varied (and sometimes healthier) selection at the concession stands, the fare in the luxury suites has always been very good. This is the food that the Denver salvage organization We Don't Waste collected at eight Broncos home games last season, and plans to do so again this coming season.  

“At Sports Authority Field at Mile High, there are 141 suites that are occupied during every Denver Broncos football game,” said We Don't Waste founder Arlan Preblud. “Those suites are catered by a single company. Once the game is over and the suites are empty, our volunteers go through and they collect all the unused food that is in the suites.”   

The leftovers from the suites provide a lot of meals for folks in the community. “We usually collect approximately 4,000 servings,” said Preblud . “That’s servings of everything from sliders to scalloped potatoes, to chili, to tacos, to roast beef, prime rib, pork tenderloin, barbecued chicken, barbecued ribs, and vegetables. It’s all nutritious restaurant-grade food, and we are thankful that we are there to recover that food.”   

But the NFL Broncos are just one source of food for We Don't Waste.  More than 50 donors in Denver provide their leftovers to the organization, which then distributes the food fo 40 community-based agencies. 

We Don't Waste, which has been in existence for about three years, has made a big difference in Denver. Read more in Organic Connections.

But the Denver organization is just one of many organizations dedicated to food salvage around the country. (In Albuquerque, there are two organizations that provide this service: Desert Harvest and Community Plates). We are thankful for their service to the community, but also mindful of our wasteful habits as a society. According to some estimates, 40 percent of the food in our country goes to waste. 

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