As you may already know, our innovative collaboration with Starbucks and Feeding America on the FoodShare program is providing wholesome, ready-to-eat meals to our most vulnerable residents. Launched in June, the FoodShare program is a great example of how organizations can work together to impact hunger in our area.

A FoodShare pick-up van

We have some exciting news to share about the program. Now that we have SO many awesome partners, we want to keep you all informed!

Last month, Second Harvest took over donation pickups for 72 additional stores, bringing us to a total of 163. We are absolutely thrilled to be working with such a strong network of Starbucks partners who are fun, engaged and committed to rescuing quality food for our in-need community!

You might wonder… how does the Starbucks FoodShare program operate?

The routes

We have 5 AMAZING routes covering various areas in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, color-coded below for a visual reference. Second Harvest works with our partner agencies to run these routes. Four of them are operated by homeless shelters–HomeFirst, Cityteam (who runs two routes) and LifeMoves–and one route is operated by Loaves & Fishes, a kitchen that provides meals to low-income individuals. While Second Harvest oversees the program, these partner agencies hire the drivers and bring the food to their sites.

The four “full” routes comprise 35-42 Starbucks stores. We also have one route of 15 stores (colored in peachy pink). A full route takes about seven hours to complete. The process includes entering the store and picking up the donations, driver breaks and travel time. An additional hour is used to prep the refrigerated van before departure and unload the delicious donations back at the agency site. The drivers typically work from 9 pm to 6 am.

The pickup process

We train the drivers extensively on program protocols and safety procedures. Because of the overnight nature of the job, driver personal safety is our highest priority—we love our employees and we want to keep them safe. Our drivers are instructed to use their best judgement before leaving the safety of their locked vehicles and entering the stores. Our goal is to minimize the time they are exposed outside in the dark. Once drivers assess that a store can be safely entered, they follow the below procedure.

Brace yourselves…. the driver unlocks, enters and relocks the store door behind them, disarms the store alarm, retrieves pastries from the counter, retrieves fresh/RTE items from the refrigerator, temp-checks one fresh/ RTE product for food safety, weighs and records the poundage and any issues into an app on their phone (for our Food Sourcing team to see the next day), leaves a note for the store (if necessary), arms the alarm, locks the door behind them, double-checks the door is locked, loads the product inside the refrigerated van and… goes to the next store to do it all again. What rockstars!

This in-store process takes 5 minutes on average but only 2 minutes for our lightning-fast drivers. Back at the partner agency sites, the drivers unload about 300-400 pounds of product per full route. In total, about 1,800 pounds of product are rescued every night. And yes, almost all this food gets served the very next day!

Stay tuned for more Starbucks FoodShare updates coming soon!