ROANOKE, Va. – Olive Garden restaurants across the nation harvest surplus, wholesome food that didn't get served to their guests.
Here in Roanoke, a chef at the local Olive Garden prepared lunch for the Roanoke Rescue Mission.
"That surplus at the end of the night gets frozen. We chill it down. We freeze it. Then we label it," said Michele Rader, general manager at Roanoke Olive Garden.
Unused and fresh food is prepared and served.
"They send soups. They send pans of lasagna, and we can freeze those. We can pull them out when we need them," said Tracy Altizer, chief development officer at the Roanoke Rescue Mission.
The Rescue Mission says partnerships such as the one with Olive Garden are critical.
“We're serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. We can come here to Olive Garden each week and we can pick up whatever they have for us,” said Altizer.
“There's a lot of food that goes to waste in our community,” said Rader.
Rader says more restaurants should donate that unused food.
To date, the Roanoke Olive Garden has donated more than 75,000 pounds of food to the Roanoke Rescue Mission.