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Today, 1 in 7 people in the United States struggle with hunger and more than 48 million American households don’t have stable access to food. Food scarcity impacts every county in the U.S. These statistics aren’t due to a lack of food, but instead, a lack of income to pay for food. Unfortunately, over 70 billion pounds of food actually becomes waste every single year. So, how can we minimize the amount of food waste we produce and increase the distribution of food to lower-income families? Starbucks has proposed a solution.

Starbucks announced on Tuesday, March 22nd, that they plan to donate 100% of their left over ready-to-eat meals to food banks nationwide. With over 7,600 stores in total, Starbucks hopes to make a dent in households affected by food scarcity. In addition, Starbucks will work towards lowering its direct contribution to food waste. They plan to make this a reality with the help of Feeding America and food collection group Food Donation Connection.

This Is How It Works:

Food Donation Connection picks up food from each Starbucks store every day and will drop them off at food banks and rescue agencies like those in the Feeding America network. This process, to be implemented every single day, is projected to take 24 hours or less.

“[We] are rescuing food, feeding people in need and bringing awareness to a critical issue facing our communities,” Ross Fraser, director of media relations for Feeding America, told Mashable. “We hope to inspire others that don’t currently donate unsold food to find a way. This is an exciting opportunity to be a part of something bigger.”

Starbuck’s new FoodShare initiative not only proved that they were moving with the tides of public opinion, but they were also able to respond to a social cause. As a result, the FoodShare program is bringing together Starbucks employees and their local customers as well as bettering the brand’s overall image.

With the FoodShare program developed, tested, and now in motion, Starbucks estimates over 5 million meals to be donated to families in need in the first year alone. The FoodShare program is expected to be fully operational within the next five years so that 100% of the corporation’s left over food from company-operated stores is donated daily.