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'These people are a wink from God': Kansas City-area nonprofit tackles food waste

Pete's Garden
Posted at 5:52 PM, Aug 17, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Do you ever go out to eat, or to an event, and see perfectly good food uneaten and untouched? According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), food waste accounts for 30% to 40% of the food supply in the U.S.

KSHB 41 talked with Pete’s Garden, a Kansas City nonprofit focused on redirecting food and putting an end to food waste.

The group gets food donations from anyone who might have surplus prepared food: including restaurants, caterers, food service operations —and coming soon — the Chiefs. They’ll start picking up the prepared, uneaten food from the player training meals.

Once the food is picked up, volunteers portion it and repackage it into take-home containers.

Then, it’s distributed as ready to heat, free meals for organizations that serve families in Kansas City.

“There’s usually food left over that hasn’t been served that’s perfectly good to eat,” founder and executive director Tamara Weber said.

Weber named the organization after her father, in honor of all he taught her.

“Growing up, we had a huge garden he loved to take care of, and he didn’t waste food,” she said.

She said she held onto all he taught her after she moved to Kansas City and noticed gaps in food waste – particularly when it comes to food that’s already prepared.

“Our goal is to enable family mealtime,” she said. “Those parents can take home a restaurant-quality ready-to-heat meal that night, maybe they have more time to spend with their kids, helping them with homework, or playing or going for a walk.”

Volunteers add to the magic that happens in the kitchen.

“Yes, the ham is my favorite,” volunteer Eileen McKeon said. “How dare anyone touch it?”

McKeon and the others are serving up more than a meal.

“We laugh a lot and we have fun, and we learn,” she said. “So those are good reasons, and of course we’re doing some good.”

Friendship is featured on this menu, too.

“Each one of these people are a wink from God. Every one of them is so wonderful,” McKeon said.

You can visit Pete’s Garden’s website if you’d like to donate, or volunteer.