A program that aims to reduce food waste by providing leftovers to social agencies is being embraced by Stampede vendors and pancake breakfast organizers.

Leftovers Calgary started five years ago with the goal of eliminating food waste and reducing hunger.

The non-profit organization collects food that would otherwise end up in landfills and distributes it to over 30 social agencies in the city including; the Calgary Drop in Centre, Calgary Interfaith Food Bank, Alpha House, Making Changes Association and Inn from the Cold.

“It just gets them extra food that some of these clients at these agencies wouldn’t normally get so it just sort of makes Stampede spread throughout the whole city,” said Lourdes Juan, Leftovers founder.

“I think it's a great option to reduce this food in landfills and divert it to agencies such as ours that can actually use it,” said Adam Melnyk from Alpha House.

During the ten days of Stampede, a team of 10 to 15 volunteers picks up excess food from the 171 vendors who are taking part in the program.

“The vendors have been extremely generous and we're just picking up after hours just the food that didn’t get sold that day. So we’re looking at everything from colossal onions, to muffins and mini-donuts and we bring those to service agencies later in Calgary,” said Juan.

Teams are also making the rounds to some of the Stampede breakfasts and the agency says it expects to double its average weekly total of 1100 kilograms of food.

This is the first year that the Stampede has initiated a formal food recovery program and between 60 and 200 pounds of food is collected from the park every day.

“This year because everybody knows we’re here they’re expecting it, they’re setting things aside and most of the vendors that we talk to on a nightly basis, mention be here on the last night,” said Rob Ironside with the Leftovers Foundation. “Last year we did 1200 kilograms of food, actually over 1200 kilograms of food on the last day and we anticipate to do more this year because we just came in last second, on the last night last year and just went around.”

Anyone hosting a Stampede Breakfast or with other food donations can contact Leftovers at 403-619-6373 or by email at help@rescuefood.ca.  

For more information on the program, click HERE.