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Chicago Homeless Shelters Serve Up Starbucks

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Every night, trucks from the Greater Chicago Food Depository pick up unsold salads, sandwiches and wraps from Starbucks and delivers them to homeless shelters.

"The Food Share Program is a partnership with Starbucks and Feeding America," said Jim Conwell, Greater Chicago Food Depository.

"A couple of years ago Starbucks and Feeding America announced that they were going to begin a food share partnership and roll it out to the 200 food banks in the network. We are in the network. The pilot was in San Diego. They added Chicago to the program in March."

Packed meals at Greater Chicago Food Depository (Credit: Facebook/Greater Chicago Food Depository)

Conwell said they collect about 2,000 to 3,000 pounds of food a night from more than 100 Starbucks stores in Chicago, which is equal to about 1,500 meals.

He said the Food Share program began in March and just makes sense.

"It reduces food waste, it puts nutritious and fresh meals in the hands of our neighbors in need. It's overall a very efficient program," Conwell said. "While less food is going to waste, more people are getting the meals they need and that's a win win for us."

The program is now in 11 markets, and Chicago was the largest of those until the program began in New York earlier this month. Starbucks said it hopes to donate prepared food from every company-owned store by 2020.

"The goal by the end of the year, we believe we are on pace to receive more than 635,000 pounds of food by the end of 12 months," said Conwell. "It's not just getting food to people in need, it's about serving struggling neighbors with respect and dignity that they deserve. It beats a peanut, butter and jelly or bologna sandwich. It's a great opportunity to put quality, fresh food in the hands of people in need."

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