Chicago wedding planner donates leftovers from events to area food shelters
When it comes to planning a wedding, feeding the guests eats up a large portion of the budget, consideration and planning.
While seasoned caterers are pros at estimating food consumption needs based on head count, a lot of the menu is driven by etiquette, showmanship and the fear of running out of food (which is, by far, the worst).
But many guests arrive late or leave early. Some don’t arrive at all. They come with a whole slew of dietary restrictions or may be picky eaters. Sometimes the mix of a great DJ, flowing wine, stimulating conversation and stellar ambiance makes it hard for guests to leave the dance floor long enough to take a bite.
In the end, a conservative estimate by Sainsury’s this year found nearly a tenth of all wedding food is wasted. While this correlates to a lot of money down the drain for the couple, it may not be all for not.
Enter Chicagoan wedding planner Kristin Anderson of Weddings & Events by Kristin, who noticed the gross amount of food waste at the events she was planning. Disgusted and eager to do something philanthropic, she decided to ask her clients if she could donate the leftovers to pantries, homeless shelters and churches in the area. They agreed.
So she bought a refrigerator, received an Illinois food handler certificate and mastered regulations like temperature control and how the use of tongs at buffets correlate to food safety. She and her team were up and running.
In the past year and a half, Kristin estimates she and her co-workers have transported trays of food to those in need nearly 50 times. If each donation feeds about 130 people, it means she and her team have battled and won the food insecurity struggle 6,500 times.
And for someone of need in hunger, that’s no small order.
“It sort of blows my mind to think about how many meals we’ve served,” says Kristin. “But we don’t lose energy. More people need to volunteer at these shellers to see the appreciation on the faces of the people we help. They’d be amazed.”
Kristin is open to speaking engagements and getting the word out, but she’s not asking for monetary donations. “I just want to spread the word to planners all over the country,” she says. “Imagine how many people we could feed if we all worked together.”