NPR : News

Filed Under:

In Indianapolis, Super Bowl Leftovers Are All Gone (To The Hungry)

The Super Bowl party is over, and that means refrigerators around the country today are jammed with uneaten Frito pies, fried chicken, and seven-layer dips – remnants of one of the most gluttonous days of the year.

Raccoons and Dumpster divers can find glistening troves of leftover food if they know where to look. But in downtown Indianapolis, they'll be mostly out of luck. That's because most of the 30,000 pounds of leftovers generated from the multitude of Super Bowl events has already been served to the hungry by a group called Second Helpings.

Increasingly, food rescue groups in urban areas are capturing the food that never hits the table from large venues, retail outlets and wholesalers. It's one of the ways communities are turning perishable food that would otherwise end up in a landfill into a resource for people in need. According to Second Helpings, 11 percent of households in Indiana are hungry or at risk of being hungry.

It helps that the NFL has made reducing food waste one of its environmental priorities for the Super Bowl. In recent years, it has set up its own food recovery operation to redistribute food to the needy in each Super Bowl city. In Indianapolis, it turned to Second Helpings, which already uses leftovers from the stadiums, convention centers and other venues in town in some of the 3,000 meals it serves every day.

Second Helpings executive director Jennifer Vigran says the NFL first told her to expect up to 90,000 pounds of leftover food in early February. "But the weather was so wonderful and the attendance was so high, I think we didn't have as much food go to waste," says Vigran.

Still, her group has already received 20,000 pounds, and expects at least another 10,000 pounds today. "We are getting some items we don't normally get," Vigran tells The Salt. "Somewhere in there we have some caviar, and prosciutto. So we have to figure out what to do with it."

The prosciutto is headed into a pasta dish with artichokes. And the caviar? Vigran says she's not sure yet, but rest assured, it will be eaten.

The Super Bowl leftovers started rolling into her office last week, as the parties started ramping up. The food is transported in refrigerated vans to keep it safe.

After pick up, the food usually heads to the Second Helpings kitchen, where it gets reassembled into hot or cold meals. From there, it goes out to one of 60 partner agencies in the area – from senior centers to homeless shelters to day care centers.

As with all prepared food, time and temperature are of the essence. "Our biggest challenge is turning the food over quickly enough so it's either frozen or stored safely, and then dispatching it to the community," she says.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Remembering Robert Swanson, Advertising's 'King Of Jingles'

Robert Swanson revolutionized American advertising and wrote some of the most memorable ad jingles of the 1950s and '60s for products ranging from Campbell's Soup to Pall Mall cigarettes. He died at 95 July 17 at his home in Phoenix, Ariz.
NPR

Forget Instagram. We've Been Showing Off Fancy Food For Centuries

Scroll through social feeds long enough, and you're bound to come across someone gloating about their incredible meal. But exotic or aspirational foods have been used in Western art for 500 years.
WAMU 88.5

Democratic National Convention Day Two: Uniting The Party

An update on day two of the Democratic convention: Bill Clinton takes the stage and ongoing efforts by party leaders to build unity.

WAMU 88.5

How To Help Teens And Children Fight 'Tech Addiction'

Many parents and therapists say obsessive internet use is a very real problem for some teens and children. But the term “internet addiction” is controversial and not officially recognized as a disorder. How to help kids who compulsively use computers and mobile technology.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.