Olive Garden donates thousands of pounds of food to non-profits

Olive Garden donates thousands of pounds of food to non-profits
Updated: Aug. 22, 2018 at 12:31 PM CDT
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D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - A popular restaurant chain is doing its part to give back to the community. You might know Olive Garden for its yummy warm meals, but there's something you may not know about the restaurant that may warm your heart.

The restaurant chain has been collecting surplus food nationwide and donating it to non-profits to fight hunger. One of those is the Gulf Coast Rescue Mission in Biloxi where John MacInnis cooks.

According to MacInnis, the donations are a big deal for the day to day operations.

"Usually over 1000 meals a year. It's just a real good blessing for the mission, and for the people in the community," he said.

April Roberts, manager at the D'Iberville restaurant said there is usually a lot of extra food prepped that would go to waste.

"We take that unused food from the day. We bag it up. We label it. We freeze it. We weigh it, and we donate it to the local rescue mission," said Roberts.

The D'Iberville location has donated 46,000 pounds of food in south Mississippi since 2010, according to Roberts. And that's only one way the chain fights hunger. The restaurant company's charitable organization has donated two million dollars to Feeding America.

"$851,000 on Olive Garden's behalf alone. If you come into the restaurants, you'll notice we're all wearing these orange buttons that say Feeding America," said Roberts. "And also, our signature cheese graters have turned orange."

The color change is in an effort to raise awareness, which is another step that non-profits are amazed to see.

"This always opens your eyes to know that people, especially the big corporation that owns these restaurants, and people in the community, in general, think of the other that don't have in the community, and it means a whole lot," said MacInnis.

Olive Gardens nationwide have donated 40 million pounds of food to non-profits since 2003.

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