Non-profit delivers excess food from restaurants, events to hungry

Gina Gaston Image
Friday, December 4, 2015
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A Houston non-profit is delivering trash-bound leftover food from restaurants and events to Houston-area facilities servicing the needy.

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- The staff in Chef Ruffy's kitchen at the Hilton Americas Downtown isn't preparing a meal of grilled chicken, risotto, and vegetables to serve to guests coming to their hotel. This food, dozens of pounds of it, will go to a Houston charity.

"From where I came from we don't waste food, not at all," said Ruffy Suoaiman, Hilton Americas Executive Chef. "So when she told me about this I thought, thank God, we will find every way to save every food that we have here to give to them."

Since February, The Hilton has been giving its unprepared food to Second Servings of Houston, about 680 pounds of it each month, more than 6,000 pounds in less than a year.

Said Chef Ruffy, "That's a lot that would have gone to waste but we're able to touch lives to give the food to the homeless, to people who really want food. It's God-given."

Second Servings supplies the packages, picks up the food, and then transports it to shelters and transitional living facilities.

Barbara Bronstein started Second Servings nearly two years ago. She saw the food being wasted at special events by hotels, caterers, and restaurants, and she assembled a team to help our hungry.

"I'm very proud because we're able to satisfy a need without costing a fortune," said Bronstein. "This is food destined for the landfill and now it's going to fill stomachs."

Bronstein says it costs just 5 cents a meal to get the food from donors to recipient.

Magnificat House, a transitional living community, receives food from Second Servings. John Reece is the Director of Operations.

"A lot of our residents come from the streets or they've been in jail, so they've never had food like this, chef-prepared food items," said Reece, "It's been very exciting for us to have really good food."

Says Bronstein, "I think it's a food distribution problem more so than a food shortage issue. There is plenty of food, and plenty of need, and if we can connect the dots and deliver that food to the people who need it, there wouldn't be a food insecurity issue."

Bronstein hopes to feed millions of meals throughout Houston one day, but already thousands of Houston's hungry are being fed, because Barbara Bronstein couldn't stomach food waste. She's Houston Strong.

Barbara is looking for more partners who want to donate food that complies with the state food guidelines. If you're interested in helping go to