ORLANDO – September marks Hunger Action Month, but Olive Garden has been continuously working to help fight hunger in Orlando through their Harvest food donation program, which has been in place for the past 20 years. Since the program’s inception, 1.3 million pounds of food have been donated to local nonprofits near Olive Garden’s restaurants, amounting to more than 1 million meals.
Olive Garden locations nationwide participate in the Harvest program. Each day, restaurant team members gather unused, surplus food like pasta, steak, soup, chicken and vegetables to prepare for donation. Nonprofit organizations pick up these donations each week to provide to those in their community.
“Hunger continues to be a significant issue in Orlando, and at Olive Garden, we’re in a position to help” said Jennifer Klaers, General Manager of Olive Garden in Orlando. “The Harvest program has allowed us to give back to the community we serve for years, and our team takes immense pride in knowing that we’re making a difference.”
According to Feeding America, 34 million people in the United States face hunger, and food banks have experienced greater demand due to high grocery prices and the end of pandemic-era benefits like Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program (SNAP) emergency allotments.
Olive Garden restaurants nationwide participate in Harvest, and over the past 20 years, their collective food donations have totaled more than 49 million pounds of food — or 41 million meals. Locally, Olive Garden donates to Orlando Union Rescue Mission, Daytona Rescue Mission, Lighthouse Mission Orlando and more.
In addition, Olive Garden has worked with Feeding America for more than 13 years, and since 2017, the Darden Foundation, the charitable arm of Olive Garden’s parent company, has donated $16.3 million to support Feeding America member food banks across all 50 states.
As part of these ongoing efforts to fight hunger, Olive Garden has helped to enhance mobile food pantry programs for Feeding America’s food banks in communities where food insecurity rates are disproportionately high. Since January 2021, 35 Feeding America food banks across 18 states have received a 26-foot refrigerated box truck to help address transportation needs and give access to nutritious food for those who need it most. In 2021, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida was a recipient of one of these trucks.