Last Friday, we celebrated the launch of the Starbucks FoodShare program with Feeding America at a packing event at the Downtown San Jose Farmers Market. Starbucks employees volunteered their time to pack 2,000 snack kits for people in need.

Starbucks employees volunteering at the event

We also received a surprise additional $50,000 donation from the Starbucks Foundation to help fight hunger in our community.

Leslie Bacho, our CEO, receiving an awesome surprise at the event: a $50,000 additional donation from the Starbucks Foundation!

The program is already providing up to three tons of healthy, unsold food a week to two of our partners (HomeFirst Services and Cityteam) and is estimated to provide 312,000 pounds of food in the area in one year.

“It’s hard for some to imagine that 1 in 4 people is at risk for hunger in Silicon Valley, especially since it’s the center of so much wealth and innovation,” said Leslie Bacho, CEO of Second Harvest. “To address such high levels of need, we’re exploring innovative ways to reach more people beyond our traditional food bank services.  Our collaboration with Starbucks and Feeding America on the FoodShare program is a new and innovative way we can provide wholesome, ready-to-eat meals to some of our most vulnerable residents who struggle with hunger on a daily basis. The FoodShare program is a great example of how organizations can all work together to impact hunger in our area.”

Starbucks has set a goal to rescue 100% of food available to donate from their more than 8,000 U.S. company-operated stores. The program has donated more than 7.5 million meals since launching in 2016.

“We are proud to partner with Second Harvest of Silicon Valley and Feeding America in launching the Starbucks FoodShare program in our 20th market,” said Laura Olson, Starbucks director, global social impact. “Today we are one step closer in achieving our goal to bring FoodShare to all our stores and provide more than 50 million meals annually to those in need.”

You may be wondering how Second Harvest distributes FoodShare donations. All donations are picked up in refrigerated vans from selected Starbucks stores seven days a week, year-round. At each Starbucks location, drivers from two of Second Harvest’s partners check all items to ensure food safety and then transport the food for distribution.  The donated food includes items from Starbucks’ newly launched Mercato line including Bistro Boxes, breakfast sandwiches, paninis, salads, yogurts and high-quality baked goods.

Our Food Sourcing Senior Manager, Joan Sanborn and our Food Sourcing Coordinator Melissa Gaherty worked hard on this project!

Clients at HomeFirst and Cityteam, the two partners that benefit from the FoodShare program just love the food!

One of HomeFirst’s clients, a homeless veteran, said the donated food gives people a healthy option: “What a treat! With my diabetes, I shouldn’t be eating a lot of the stuff I do, but this is just what I need – something healthy.  I don’t know how you did it, but thank you for getting us something we could never afford on the streets.”

HomeFirst’s Chief Development and Communications Officer Stephanie Demos added, “Among the great unanticipated consequences of this program for HomeFirst’s homeless shelter guests is the dignity they infer from these Starbucks’ meals and snacks. Although many of us choose from the Starbucks menu one or more times a day, our guests generally don’t even consider such a treat as a possibility.”

The Starbucks Booth at the launch event on Friday, June 29

Second Harvest’s second partner in the program – Cityteam, a faith-based non-profit organization that serves the needs of people living in poverty, hunger and homelessness in the community – said the program will help them reach more people.

“We are serving 100,000+ meals to our homeless men, women, and children guests this year,” said Glen Peterson, president of Cityteam. “This food increases the quality and quantity of our food service and we hope to be expanding the FoodShare distribution into several Santa Clara County low-income communities this fall. We all know the economic realities of living in the Bay Area, and many of the people we serve are working individuals and families struggling to make ends meet. The pre-packaged food from Starbucks gives our guests food they can take with them to work and for kids lunches.”

Santa Clara County is one of more than 20 Feeding America member food banks in the country to benefit from the FoodShare partnership. Similar programs have also been launched in Seattle, New York City, San Diego and San Antonio. Starbucks intends to scale this program over the next few years and rescue 100 percent of its food available for donation from participating company-operated U.S. stores.

Thank you Starbucks for a great event and program!

Click here to learn more about the Starbucks FoodShare program.