Some of the pancakes and sausages from Stampede pancake breakfasts are finding their way to organizations helping youth, families in need and the homeless.
The Leftovers Foundation has 130 volunteers who pick up up excess food from restaurants, grocery stores, food vendors and Stampede events.
They collect from 26 businesses and drop off at 18 service agencies.
“We donate perishable items – so items that are near expiry but not expired – and items that would otherwise have been thrown or tossed into the landfill,” Lourdes Juan, with Leftovers Calgary, said.
One of the restaurants on its pick-up list is the Lazy Loaf and Kettle. The restaurant donates boxes of unused baking every week.
“I’ve been baking for a few years now and everywhere you go there’s waste,” Alex Wright said.
“It’s unfortunate. I think it’s amazing that there’s somebody willing to put in the work to make sure it gets to people that need the food.”
Food is a big expense for the Cornerstone Youth Centre in Northeast Calgary. While school is in session, the organization offers lunch and after-school (?) care programs. During the summer, it runs sports and day camps.
“It gives us the opportunity to feed kids that may not be able to get fresh bread and other fruits and vegetables from home when their parents are working,” Juanita Waugh explained. “We’re able to provide for those kids and they get a healthy meal every day.”
This year, The Leftovers Foundation has also started collecting from Stampede breakfasts around Calgary. Volunteers dropped off unused flour from the Chinook Centre pancake breakfast to the drop-in centre and fresh pancakes from the City of Calgary breakfast to Alpha House.
This Sunday, volunteers will pick up leftovers from food vendors and kiosks on the Stampede midway grounds.
“This was a nice little pilot project for us, so hopefully next year we’ll be ready for 150 to 160 breakfasts,” Juan said.
The Leftovers Foundation has only been operating for the past four years and the list of businesses donating and charities in need keeps growing.