Saving Food and Feeding Our Communities in Partnership with Our Customers
December 14, 2023
The Lineage Foundation for Good’s Customer Product Donation program mobilizes Lineage’s customers, team members, leaders and the wider community in an effort to rescue safe, quality food from going to waste and turning it into a resource for people in need. Amidst the global backdrop of elevated inflation and the roll-back of pandemic-era food aid, we've seen a significant spike in demand at food banks and a surge of food insecurity, in many of our operating areas, making these efforts more essential than ever.
Turning the Tables: From Unwanted Surplus to Essential Support for Families in Need
The Customer Product Donation program is a response to two major social challenges: reducing food waste and relieving food insecurity. No small feat! To have an impact on these intractable issues, we created a program to encourage and facilitate large-scale product donations from our customers, allowing them to send food directly to communities who need it most.
Customers storing food in a Lineage facility can donate safe-to-eat products that are nearing expiration or have minor imperfections, like labeling errors or packaging issues. Instead of allowing these products to take up space in a landfill, they are redirected to our partners’ global network of food banks, charities and community centers.
This initiative not only helps protect the environment from unnecessary waste by preventing safe, quality food from reaching the landfill, but also supports and serves communities around the world.
How Does the Customer Product Donation Program Work?
In essence, we've turned our Lineage warehouses into hubs of positive impact through the Customer Product Donation program. The donation process begins when our frontline team or the customer themselves identify products for potential donation – often products that are nearing expiration or that might have minor cosmetic imperfections. Once the items are flagged, the Lineage Foundation for Good team works directly with the customer to confirm the donation.
Once confirmation is received, the Foundation steps in and takes title of the food. At this point, Lineage halts storage fees of the donated product for up to 90 days to facilitate the donation process and create additional incentive for our customers to leverage the program in lieu of a dump and destroy.
But our role doesn't end there. We put our supply chain expertise to work as our team coordinates the logistics of the donation, whether it involves physically shipping the inventory or arranging pickup of the food with a local partner. Our team works with our vast charitable partners including local food banks, community centers, soup kitchens and other charities – to connect the donated food to those who need it most. Lineage strives to handle every step of the process, from identification to donation, with care and efficiency, transforming “waste” into a source of sustenance for millions in need around the world.
Kiwi Rescue: A Million-Pound Journey from Waste to Wellness
One resounding success story from our Customer Product Donation program revolves around a million-pound batch of frozen kiwis. The kiwis were discontinued and destined for an unfortunate fate. However, a timely intervention from a Lineage team member and the generosity of our customer rewrote the story with an unexpectedly happy ending.
One of our transportation team members, Stacey Teeter, found herself grappling with the challenge of preventing these still-nutritious kiwis from ending up in a landfill. After identifying the product, Stacey partnered with Hannah Hoskins, Executive Director of the Lineage Foundation for Good, to rescue the ill-fated fruit. Within a matter of days, Hannah and the Foundation coordinated with our partner, Feeding America, leveraging their Donor Express platform to connect the surplus food with food banks in need. It was a race against time, and efficiency was key. Soon, a total of 14 truckloads of kiwis were claimed and scheduled for pickup.
But the great kiwi odyssey didn't end there. These lucky fruits found a new purpose when they landed at food banks equipped with USDA clean rooms and repackaging centers. Rather than being handed out as singular frozen items, they were mixed and matched with other fruits and vegetables to create healthy frozen smoothie kits for local families. Transforming a discontinued product into a community resource, rescuing the kiwis from going to waste while providing a healthy option for many households facing food insecurity. It’s stories like these that underscore the impact of our donation program – where every saved product is repurposed to make a difference for a person or family in need.
Enhancing the Program through New Incentives
As we reflect on the remarkable journey of our Customer Product Donation program, we not only celebrate the successes of today but also look forward to the bright future ahead. In 2024, we're excited to introduce an innovative incentivization program, fostering a spirit of friendly competition and recognition among our customers and team members. This program will not only recognize the most significant contributors with grants to charities of their choice but also celebrate those who significantly reduce waste, reinforcing our commitment to sustainability and helping feed the world. As we continue to evolve, Lineage remains steadfast in our purpose to eliminate waste and help feed the world. We are driven by the belief that together, we can make a meaningful difference in the lives of many.