each day at its headquarters, tries to “minimize our food waste by creatively recycling from one meal to the next — breakfast into lunch, lunch into dinner.”
Many other tech companies donate their excess food, and there are laws that protect donors from liability when they give food to nonprofit organizations. For example, Chefs to End Hunger has recovered 282,135 pounds of food from Bay Area tech companies so far this year, according to Brette Waters, the nonprofit’s program director. That translates to about 235,000 meals, based on the USDA conversion rate of 1.2 pounds of food being equal to one meal, she said.
The food has come from Tesla, Uber, Oracle, Intuit, Yahoo, Nvidia, Genentech and other familiar names, she said.
“Silicon Valley is where we see the highest numbers of recovered food,” Waters said.
For years, the organization has provided free pickup services to donors, using refrigerated trucks, warehouses and other logistical services provided by LA & SF Specialty, a wholesale distributor of food and produce to California, Nevada, Arizona and Hawaii. The donated food is then distributed to organizations that give it to those in need. In the Bay Area, Chefs for Hunger gives all its donated food to Hope 4 the Heart, a Hayward-based nonprofit that provides food and other help to local families, churches, schools and other nonprofits.
Donated food is no small thing in a region where the cost of living is high, thanks largely to the tech boom, and where many residents are considered “food insecure,” the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s language for people who do not have regular access to food. In California, 1 in 8 residents are food insecure, according to the California Association of Food Banks.
What happens to excess food isn’t just up to the tech companies. ZeroCater, in San Francisco, caters food to companies including Salesforce and Scribd. It’s important for ZeroCater to reduce food waste and give back to the community, said spokeswoman Megan Palmer. So it works with organizations that donate to homeless shelters, after-school programs, veterans centers and more.
One of its partners is RePlate, which last year “rerouted leftover meals to shelters and areas to feed those fighting, or displaced, by the Napa fires,” Palmer said.
Another organization that handles donated food is San Francisco-based Food Runners. It relies on an army of volunteers to pick up excess prepared food from caterers, cafeterias and elsewhere, and delivers more than 20,000 meals to local food programs each week.
Food Runners’ regular donors include Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, Square, Airbnb, Stripe and several other tech companies, said Nancy Hahn, operations manager for the nonprofit.
Meanwhile, Apple does not give free meals to all its employees, although some workers get a discount on food when they work late. Apple tries to minimize waste by repurposing uneaten food into “family meals” for cafeteria staff, a company spokeswoman said. She said those meals feed hundreds of workers and their families. plans to open 15 locations next year, which could create up to 450 new jobs.
Applications have fallen “to an all-time low,” Mabry said.
“We’ve had to get competitive on work-life balance,” Mabry said.
Nearly all employees make at least $10 an hour, and management salaries have risen 5 to 10 percent in the past year, he added.
Nationwide, hiring in November was led by health care firms, which added 40,100 jobs, and manufacturing companies, which hired 27,000 new workers, the most in seven months and a sign that trade tensions have yet to weaken factory hiring.
Strong holiday shopping helped lift retailer hiring by 18,200 in November, the most in six months. Online spending likely boosted shipping and warehousing jobs, which grew 25,400, the largest in 14 months.
Construction firms added just 5,000 jobs, the fewest in eight months. A weakening housing market, held back by higher mortgage rates, contributed to that decline. New home building fell 2.6 percent in October from a year earlier.