Food

The Mercury News - - Data - Con­tact Levi Su­ma­gaysay at 408-859-5293.

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.

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