Many restaurants and food chains are rising to the challenge of food donation to help feed a multitude in any gathering. In this post, I will disclose some of the best restaurants that donate food to events. If you have any of the restaurants in your location, then you are halfway to getting free food for your event. These restaurants do more than serve or donate food. They make a difference in the lives of customers and neighbors who may be in genuine need.
Restaurants That Donate Food to Events
For many, a nourishing meal is a critical need. Chick-fil-A introduced the Chick-fil-A Shared Table program to help restaurant operators combat hunger within their local communities. Currently, over 1,300 Chick-fil-A outlets across 47 states are actively donating surplus food to local soup kitchens, shelters, and other nonprofit organizations. With more than 15 million meals donated to assist those in need, this number continues to grow annually.
2. The Coca-Cola Company
The Coca-Cola Company has been an active member of the restaurants that donate food to events and support communities. Apart from just food, Coca-Cola even has been involved in the supply of hand sanitizer donated to hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes. In Brazil, Coca-Cola joined the Todosà Mesa movement to provide discount beverage coupons to iFood delivery app subscribers to boost orders from local restaurants. In Uruguay, the Coca-Cola Foundation partnered with several organizations to launch an online database of over 800 women-owned enterprises, supporting the economic development of women.
In the USA, they teamed up with Uber Eats to donate food to Feeding America for every meal purchased from a participating restaurant. Last but not least, in Austria, the company supported the reopening of hotels, restaurants, and cafes post-lockdown by offering free Cokes to Austrians.
3. Darden Restaurant
Darden Restaurants believes that thriving communities lead to thriving businesses and individuals. With this in mind, Darden is dedicated to creating positivity in these communities through their philanthropic efforts. They have initiatives focused on donating food to events held in the community.
4. Dunkin Donuts
Dunkin Donuts has shown a strong commitment to reducing food waste and stands out as one of the restaurants that donate food to events. Along with its franchisees, they initiated the End of Day Donation program. This optional initiative allows franchisees to donate surplus food items, including bakery products, shelf-stable foods, and unclaimed catering orders, to local non-profit community service and hunger relief organizations.
Dunkin also introduced a composting program that franchisees can compost coffee grounds and other organic waste. They even have a collaboration with We Compost It!, a local company that turns leftover food scraps into compost. This compost is then generously donated to local schools for their gardens or shared with We Compost It! residential partners.
5. The Fresh Market
Along with their national efforts, the Fresh Market has also been active in supporting community-based organizations in the areas where they operate. They offer donations in the form of gift cards, food trays, gift baskets, bottled water, and various other store items to those in need.
Each store under The Fresh Market banner is committed to assisting local non-profit entities. If you represent a non-profit organization and are seeking a donation for a charity fundraiser or community event, The Fresh Market advises contacting the local store manager directly. They require a written request on the organization’s letterhead, which should include a valid tax ID number and specifics about the donation request. Get in touch with the Fresh Market store with food requests at least 4 weeks in advance of when you need the food.
6. General Mills
With a mission to make a significant impact in communities worldwide, General Mills has demonstrated its dedication to giving back. In Minneapolis, where General Mills has its world headquarters, the company has a longstanding commitment to advancing equity in food access and K-12 student educational achievement.
They prioritize nonprofits that support marginalized community members, including those from lower-income households. General Mills Lzo extends its philanthropic support to local organizations in communities that house their manufacturing plants and offices.
Employees actively participate by nominating local charities and organizing volunteer projects. The company’s impact is significant, with $98 million provided to charitable causes, 471 charities worldwide receiving funding, and a cumulative giving of $2.6 billion since the establishment of the General Mills Foundation in 1954. This figure encompasses General Mills Foundation grants, Box Tops for Education giving, corporate contributions, and global food donations.
Communities are stronger when we all work together. That’s a belief that Kroger takes to heart, making it one of the top restaurants that donate food to events. Every year, Kroger assists numerous local nonprofit organizations. However, your event’s endeavors must align with Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste impact plan. Kroger also supports other nonprofits that are making a positive difference.
One notable initiative is the Kroger Community Rewards program, which facilitates fundraising by donating to local organizations based on daily customer shopping.
Non-profit organizations can register for Community Rewards. Here, customers can link their Shopper’s Card to a chosen organization. Every time a linked Shopper Card is swiped at checkout, the selected organization earns benefits.
A commitment to supporting local communities is a core tenet of many organizations, especially the McDonald’s. Their commitment to helping others is evident through their continuous support for Ronald McDonald House Charities programs and the McDonald’s HACER National Scholarships. They have been actively involved in youth sports, local charities, and events that inspire the world.
PepsiCo is making significant strides in supporting Black-owned restaurants. Their platform, PEPSI Dig In, is designed to drive access, business growth, and awareness to Black-owned restaurants. They have initiated the Pepsi Dig In Day, which encourages diners across the country to visit Black-owned restaurants. Currently, PepsiCo has expanded its efforts by organizing a block party in Washington, D.C., curated dinner events in partnership with the James Beard Foundation, and covering $100,000 in free meals for consumers at select restaurants.
Pepsi Dig In also encourages food enthusiasts to share their meals from Black-owned restaurants on social media for a chance to win prizes and make donations.
Welcome to a place where shopping is a pleasure. Publix Super Markets, the largest and fastest-growing employee-owned supermarket chain in the United States, is not just about selling groceries. They are committed to being the premier quality food retailer in the world.
While Publix is one of the restaurants that donate food to events, they also offer special features that deliver exceptional value to their online community of customers and visitors. However, their commitment goes beyond just business. They have a history of donating food to events. This gesture also reduces food waste in a way.
When you think of Starbucks, you might picture a cozy corner where you sip your favorite coffee. But Starbucks is more than just a coffee company. They are deeply invested in building supportive and sustainable communities. Starbucks strengthens each community they are a part of, and tries to be the neighbor every neighborhood desires. This includes donating food to events.
Subway’s donations are managed by its independently owned and operated franchisees who are deeply rooted in their communities.
If you’re looking for restaurants that donate food to events, you can request a donation by reaching out to your local Subway restaurant.
They receive numerous donation requests throughout the year, and unfortunately can’t honor all of them. However, for those in Milford, CT, a priority is given to organizations that feed the hungry, promote healthy lifestyles, and supporte education.
Over the past 29 years, Walmart has donated more than $650 million to Canadian charities. Some of their notable contributions include providing 60 million meals to Food Banks Canada, donating $63 million to the Breakfast Club of Canada, and offering $70 million in disaster relief funding to support The Canadian Red Cross.
They paired their stores with local food banks and donated over 30 million pounds of food. Their annual ‘Fight Hunger. Spark Change.’ campaign has provided more than 60 million meals to Canadians in need.
14. The Whole Foods Market
Whole Foods Market is a hub for local, organic, plant-based products and also one of the restaurants that donate food to events in need. You will get a wide range of products, from organic turkeys to elegant appetizers and decadent platters. They emphasize the importance of high-quality ingredients at affordable prices. Whole Foods Market also introduced Gymkhana Fine Foods, for customers to enjoy Michelin-star quality Indian meals at home. These meals are prepared and sealed, and capture the famous flavors of the Gymkhana restaurant. Whole Foods also collaborates with local artisans, makers, entrepreneurs, and producers to donate food.
15. Big Y Foods Inc.
Many grocery chains do give free food, including Big Y Foods Inc. They primarily support non-profit organizations and activities related to hunger relief, food security, families and education, health and wellness, and military or first responders.
Typically, these donations are in the form of Big Y Gift Cards. They have a systematic process in place for donation requests, asking organizations to fill out a form detailing their activity and needs. You need to give Big Y Foods Inc. at least 3 weeks to process any request.
16. Panera Bread
You can also get free food for events through Panera Bread which believes in the power of community and giving back. Panera initiated the Day-End Dough-Nation program through which bakery cafes donate their unsold bread, bagels, and other baked goods to local non-profits at the end of each day. They have formed partnerships with thousands of organizations across the nation that distribute donated goods to events, including after-school programs and food pantries to homeless shelters and veteran services.
17. Baker’s Crust
At Baker’s Crust, there is a unique approach to giving back through their Community Night Program. This allows local organizations to collaborate with Baker’s Crust, one of the restaurants that donate food to events, to raise funds for their cause. Here, an organization submits a fundraising request, and upon approval, they promote the event to their supporters.
On the designated day, supporters dine in at Baker’s Crust Artisan Kitchen. A percentage of the food and non-alcoholic beverage sales generated by the organization is donated back to them. This percentage amounts to 15% of the sales during the event’s time frame.
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