Venti Volunteerism From Starbuck’s SODO Kitchen

Left to right: Cashier Li Ho; Assistant Catering Manager Anthony Morris; Cooks Heather Anderson, Sanjiv Adhikari, and DJ Roberts; Operations Manager Adam Worth; General Manager Rick Stromire; Catering Director Laura Wilkens; Sushi Chef Hiroshi “Tommy” Toyama; Cook Amber Renek; and Cashier Tonya Kimbrough

With no shortage of required tasks in a typical workday, carving out time to volunteer in the community takes some effort. But the payoff — for the nonprofit and the volunteers themselves — is always worth it.

Bon Appétiters at SODO Kitchen at Starbucks in Seattle recently completed a day of volunteering for Food Lifeline, whose mission is to rescue surplus food from area farmers, producers, stores, and restaurants and distribute it to food banks, shelters, and meal programs throughout western Washington.

The team spent several hours sorting and repacking pallets of donated goods to be sent to hundreds of local shelters. By the end of the day, they had packed more than 8 tons of food, providing nearly 14,000 meals to those in need.

General Manager Rick Stromire meticulously packing boxes

The experience, though relatively brief, was still eye opening for the participants. Volunteers remarked on how significant a difference they could make in a short time by doing something as seemingly basic as sorting food and personal care items, pet supplies, and infant care products.

The SODO Kitchen team was among the roughly 10,000 volunteers who give their time to Food Lifeline each year. Among them are volunteers from other area Bon Appétit accounts as well, as Bon Appétit and Food Lifeline have a longstanding partnership. In fact, Bon Appétiters have donated over 325,000 pounds of food, which led to an Ending Hunger Award for Outstanding Food Donor in 2014!

Submitted by Anthony Morris, Assistant Manager of Catering