SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) - The Central Illinois Foodbank received a grant from the Walmart Foundation to come up with a way to transport unused food from local restaurants to food pantries and soup kitchens.
Ashley Earnest, with the Central Illinois Foodbank, says the $50,000 grant will allow restaurants to give back to the community they serve.
"If you're a donor that has five extra muffins, or a pan of lasagna, all of those are perfect donations for the program," Earnest says.
The program connects food with technology. An app allows donors to say when to pick up the unused food and also, tells volunteers when they can distribute food items.
"The app is called 'Meal Connect.' If you're a donor, you take a picture of your donations, and it goes into the system and connects with a volunteer who's available," Earnest says. "That volunteer picks it up, and brings it to a local agency."
For restaurants like Café Moxo, this is a perfect way to get involved in the community. The Owner, Mark Forinash says, tons of food goes to waste every day.
"We always try to find something to do in the community that helps, that impacts the people we live next door to," Forinash says. "We could probably feed 12 to 20 people a day, just on the amount of food we unfortunately have to throw away."
According to Forinash, this program will continue into the future.
"I hope this never ends. There is no end game in my book," Forinash says. "This is something that goes on forever ... hunger, community support. I think fulfilling the needs of every one that has or has not, or needs or needs not, never stops."
The Foodbank is looking for volunteers to pick up products from donors and deliver them to local agencies. For more information, visit the Central Illinois Foobank's website.