"Our clients are always asking us what's happening to all these leftovers," Jeremy Bronson, president and owner of Occasions catering, said. "Unfortunately, too much of it went in the trash."
That changed two years ago when Arlan Preblud, a former lawyer, decided he had to do something else.
"In the last two years we have saved over 500 tons of food from the landfill," Preblud said. "Forget the sustainability aspect of that and the green aspect of that, that's food, nourishing food that could be put on the tables around the city."
Preblud created "We Don't Waste," a nonprofit that works with caterers, restaurants, food growers and producers like Centerplate at the Colorado Convention Center.
"Last week, we were feeding 4,000 people breakfast, lunch and dinner," executive Chef Carmen Callo said.
We Don't Waste takes the food the Convention Center won't use and puts it on the tables of people who need it.
"As chefs, part of the reason we love the job to have people enjoy our food, to know that it can go full circle and continue to be enjoyed is great," Callo said.
Before We Don't Waste came about, a large portion of their prepared perishable food was tossed, Callo said.
Today, thanks to Occasions Catering and Centerplate, Preblud is delivering a ton of different fresh food to Father Woody's, a Denver day shelter for the homeless.
"We've delivered salads, we've delivered sandwiches, we're gonna deliver quiche," Preblud said.
Father Woody's is one of 37 organizations that gets deliveries from We Don't Waste. More than 70 donors help We Don't Waste operate.
Father Woody's Executive Director Melissa Paterson told 9NEWS We Don't Waste delivers to them once a week. The shelter feeds 800 people every day.
The food We Don't Waste provides "fills in the gaps," and "provides quality," Paterson said.
Eugne Marguez says he comes to the shelter every day to eat.
"It's pretty good," he said. "I like the salad and the sandwiches are good," he said while eating the salad provided by Centerplate.
"There is a real need out there," Preblud said, "and it's not just the person that you see on the street corner, in fact that's not really what we're interested in. We're interested in the community of people that are trying to work their way back and become meaningful members and productive members of society."
Preblud started We Don't Waste from the trunk of his Volvo. Now he has a van with plenty of space. Preblud says he could do more if he had more money and a refrigerated van, because there is much more food out there to be picked up.
"I started in September of 2009 and here we are May 2. We put out over 2.3 million servings of food, donated value of $970,000," Preblud said. "It's just is an opportunity that took off and I think has great value to the community."
If you want to help or volunteer, you can visit www.wedontwaste.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)