Distributing Leftovers After the Big Game

Many associate Super Bowl Sunday with loads of food; from tailgating to pre-game events to concessions stands, everybody’s eating. As a result, a tremendous amount of surplus food could go to waste after the game. However, armies of volunteers stood ready outside State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, on Sunday to pull off a time-sensitive plan to get this food to the people and places that could most benefit from it.

In 2020, only weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic seized the country, Food Recovery Network (FRN) organized its first Super Bowl food rescue effort. This year, the nonprofit, originally founded by students in 2011 to deal with food waste on college campuses, collected about 3,000 pounds of food from the 2023 “Players Tailgate” event, hosted by Food Network chef Bobby Flay.

The all-you-can-eat-and-drink ticketed smorgasbord served gourmet dishes prepared by other celebrity chefs. During a critical two-hour window, student volunteers loaded up the leftover cooked and uncooked consumables into a refrigerated truck and delivered it to the Phoenix Rescue Mission.

Another Arizona-based nonprofit, Waste Not, also partnered with NFL Green to tackle in-stadium food waste as soon as the game ended. Waste Not also partners with almost 100 local nonprofits to help feed and serve vulnerable populations in the area.

What kinds of arrangements could you make to procure leftover food products when local venues host big events?