Tag Archives: Giving Back

Giving Back: Central supports the Ronald McDonald House Charities

The holiday season is a great time for giving. Whether its when you are sit down with family or friends to enjoy a holiday meal or when you open your restaurant for other families to celebrate.

Still, there are many families that have other heavy matters on their minds this holiday season. They are spending the holiday far from home to seek treatment for their sick children. Luckily, across our nation and 61 other countries, the Ronald McDonald House Charities provide a home-away-from-home for parents, patients and their siblings. While the charity shares a name with the fast-food giant, it is a separate entity that relies on funding from many sources.

 Our Experience with the Ronald McDonald House

The Content Specialist team here at Central Restaurant (who also maintain this blog) recently took the opportunity to serve dinner at our local Indianapolis Ronald McDonald House. The house gives respite for up to 58 families each day, and relies on volunteers to donate and prepare hot lunches and dinners for the guests each day.

Julia and Tracey get ready to prepare the evening meal.

Julia and Tracey get ready to prepare the evening meal.

As our team of 6 prepared the meal, weary families began to congregate in the dining room sharing stories of treatment, recovery and the strength of their ill children. They were grateful for the meal and one less thing their occupied minds had to deal with.

“Feeding 50 people was a daunting task at first because we’ve never cooked for that many people at once, but it was so rewarding to see the families line up to eat and thank us and say how good everything was,” said Emily Rollins.

But the highlight of the night was when a child named Raymond, who was in town for medical tests at nearby Riley Children’s Hospital, began challenging us to races around the dining room. It was heartwarming to see this young child forget his illness for a minute and just be a kid once again. Even more rewarding was the look of joy on his parent’s face, who wrote about the experience on their Facebook page Rise up for Raymond.

RMHC-Group

Our Content Specialist team joined by 4-year-old bottle-of-energy Raymond

Our co-worker Carlisha summed the experience up best:

“Raymond’s face when he was racing everyone was priceless. That four-year old really touched our hearts with his energetic spirit and positive attitude. It reminded me what Christmas is really about and how much you can impact someone’s life by giving some of your time.”

Your Time to Pay It Forward

Whether it be donating your time, excess food, money or all of the above, there is never a bad time of the year to give of yourself and your staff. “It was really rewarding to be able to do this for these families and a great teambuilding exercise for our group too,” said Tracey Rector Allen. And that’s why our team challenges you – the food service industry – to take your community support one step further in 2015. The feelings are much more rewarding than the effort.

Overcoming Roadblocks to Food Donations

Last week, we talked about steps that can help your kitchen achieve zero food waste through planning and optimization. But what about the 96 billion pounds of food waste that we create but do not serve? Today, we will look at what your kitchen can do with that prepared food waste that remains at the end of your day.

Roadblocks to Donation

You may have already thought about donating your surplus or unused prepared food to a local food bank or other charity – but thought it was too difficult, risky or cost effective. With the help of some non-profit organizations, whose intent is to simplify the process, and a law specifically written to protect your good intentions, there are now fewer reasons not to turn your excess waste into a positive for your community.

Donation Process Infographic from FDC

Steps to donation outlined on http://foodtodonate.com

Creating a program is not as difficult and time-consuming as one would think. There are organizations that exist to help. One is the Food Donation Connection based out of Knoxville, TN. Through their website, foodtodonate.com, potential donors can find local organizations in need and helps facilitate the ongoing communication to ensure all benefit from the exchange. They can also help coordinate the tracking and transportation through pick-up agencies. The FDC receives no federal money, but funds itself through the food donors who pay a small percentage of the tax benefits received through the donation process.

According to 2013 numbers, the FDC helped 14,592 foodservice locations donate 36 million pounds of food to 7908 hunger relief organizations. Many large chains are involved in the program, including Yum! Brands and Darden Restaurants. Some recipients of this donated food include Feeding America, City Harvest (NYC), The Salvation Army and Boy & Girls Clubs

Legal Liabilities

Another common roadblock is the potential liability of donating food. Where does the food safety liability lie once it leaves a restaurant’s care? In 1996, the Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act was signed into law to clear this legal point and encourage more donations. The bill protects the donor and the recipient agencies in most cases outside of gross negligence or intentional misconduct. With the national law enacted, all donors in the U.S. have the same language that protects them from civil or criminal liability.

Covered food includes products that “meet all quality and labeling standards imposed by federal, state and local laws and regulations even though the food may not be readily marketable due to appearance, age, freshness, grade, size, surplus or other conditions.”

Benefits to Donation

Aside from the pride a business can take in helping the nearly 30 million Americans at risk of hunger, and the goodwill created by letting your customers know you support your community, there are fiscal benefits as well.

Many businesses can benefit from tax breaks linked to their charitable food donations. The FDC explains several laws that may be used come tax time. Most are based on the fair market value of the donated food. You should always talk with your Attorney or Tax consultant, but the largest benefit of food donation is helping to divert your portion of the 96 billion pounds of food waste currently being sent to our local landfills. By overcoming some of these large roadblocks, there is little reason not to do your part.

Helpful tools from Central

Whether you decide to donate through a facilitation organization like the FDC, or work personally with a local organization, you’ll probably need to invest some additional food pans, and storage or transportation containers. The FDC uses Cambro Camwear and Camcarrier products that Central carries everyday at competitive prices.