The restaurant participates in a harvest program, one of many that other Darden brand restaurants, like Olive Garden and Red Lobster, participate in across the country.
Each program is localized to help feed the local community; LongHorn in McDonough has partnered with Southside Christian Fellowship’s Cup of Kindness program for about seven years.
Restaurant Managing Partner Charles Fleck said the partnership is one that nourishes both the hungry community and the employees’ sense of pride.
“Our employees feel good about being able to help others by providing food,” he said. “Just because an item might not meet our restaurant’s specifications does not mean it should be wasted or thrown away when it can go towards feeding those who are hungry.”
Fleck said the process begins each Monday morning by hand-cutting rib eye steaks and other meats, including fish, then cooking and packaging what the restaurant cannot use because of size or cut.
Trimmings are grilled and then frozen to preserve them for stews and soups, he said.
Other items, like bread, potatoes and vegetables, are also frozen and packed for pickup by the food pantry.
Employees then wait for the Rev. Diane Kirk to arrive promptly at 9 a.m. to pick up the donations.
“Our purpose is to feed any one that is hungry and there are no stipulations,” she said about the McDonough ministry. “If someone is hungry in our community, we want to help take care of that person and we are happy to help anyone in need.”
Since 2007, the restaurant has donated about 45,000 pounds of food.