The Olive Branch Mission serves takeout lunches with dignity through a partnership with Starbucks, Feeding America and the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
As the Chicago Tribune’s Samantha Bomkamp recently reported, the partnership gives homeless Chicagoans an upgrade to the brown-bag lunch sandwich that homeless shelters typically offer guests as they leave each morning. Olive Branch receives unsold sandwiches and salads each night from Starbucks’ Mercato lunch menu that is only available in Chicago at this time. According to the Tribune, “the packaged meals, which range from a Cuban sandwich to green goddess avocado salads, have given those who stay at the shelters a much-requested break from the traditional PB&J they would leave with in the morning, reduced food waste, and freed up hours of sandwich-making traditionally handled by volunteers.”
Olive Branch Mission manager Genice Bowles told the Tribune that the partnership has decreased sandwich-prep duties from three hours to one, and homeless people are no longer wasting sandwiches by taking them but not eating them.
“Sometimes people would just walk out and drop the peanut butter sandwiches on the street,” Bowles said. “That doesn’t happen anymore.”
Go to fmchr.ch/ctobmst for the Tribune’s story.