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Leftovers aren't going to waste

Published: 01 Jul 2017

It all started with a plea from Daryl.

The homeless man knew Ken Lynch owned a barbecue restaurant in Stroudsburg and asked whether he could donate his leftover food to the Monroe County Homeless Initiative.

So for the four years Lynch has owned a Dickey's Barbecue Pit franchise in that area, he's donated about 2,000 pounds of food a year.

When he opened a franchise in Palmer Township earlier this year, it made sense to keep up the practice in the Easton area.

"I just can't stand seeing anything usable go to waste," said the Bangor resident.  "I don't know if it's just that I'm cheap. I don't know what it is.”

Chicken, turkey or sausage typically has a shelf life of only one day. While it's not tender enough to serve to customers, it's not spoiled either. Every Friday that leftover meat goes to the Safe Harbor homeless shelter in Easton.

Safe Harbor board member Richard Adams said few restaurants are willing to do what Lynch does.

"The more restaurants that help us, the better," he said. "We would love to get the word out to restaurants: do not throw food away.”

Lynch was an electrical engineer with a master's degree in business administration when he was downsized from jobs twice. Now he cooks up the food he loves. It breaks his heart to see it land in a garbage pail.

"If I didn't have a place for all this food to go, I'd probably be eating it myself," he said.

Adams said some restaurants say they don't have a way to transport the food to Safe Harbor. Lynch thinks they may fear a lawsuit. If you own a restaurant but don't feel comfortable donating food there are other ways to help. 

3rd & Ferry Fish Market has hosted monthly meals for the homeless in its restaurant. Adams said he donates a portion of the proceeds of his family's restaurant in Hellertown to shelters like Safe Harbor.

Giant supermarket donates day-old bread and gift cards, Adams said.

Another plus about Lynch's donation is the protein. The inexpensive food that ends up on lunch plates at the shelter can be high in carbs and not so nutritious.

"We want to make sure it's not all hot dogs and rolls," Adams said.

Leftovers aren't going to waste
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