Waste Connections, Abundant Harvest Kitchen team up to feed 8,000 veterans

St. Isidore Episcopal Church, Spring, TX
Posted Feb 6, 2024

Abundant Harvest volunteer provides food to community member.

Waste Connections and the Abundant Harvest Kitchen (AHK) has teamed up to launch a free food distribution service that will provide hot meals to more than 8,000 food insecure veterans and their families by the end of 2024.

The national waste removal and recycling company donated $12,000 and will provide a team of volunteers to help AHK prepare and distribute 800 hot, nutritious meals every month, starting in March.

According to Vice President of Community Affairs and Corporate Giving Michelle Little, the partnership speaks to Waste Connections’ values.

Abundant Harvest Kitchen is a ministry of St. Isidore Episcopal Church in Spring, TX.

“Giving back is part of our culture,” said Little. “Having the financial and human resources to assist this amazing organization that helps veteran heroes in our community is a privilege and an honor.”

The Abundant Harvest’s food pantry solves food insecurity for more than 100,000 families every year, many of which are also veterans. During these food distributions, customers receive several boxes of produce, dry goods, non-perishables, dairy and whole grains – enough to provide each family with 10 meals each time they visit. According to AHK Executive Chef Joe Macri, the new veteran distribution covers a different need.

“We’re talking about veterans here,” said Macri. “Guys who have been on the go their entire lives. Their families have been on the go. This is a meal they can portion out, pop in the microwave, or reheat on the stove and there they go – a restaurant quality meal that’s very good for them, right then and there. Something they can enjoy the minute they get home.”

Waste Connections provides check to Abundant Harvest leadership team.

Chef Macri and the Waste Connections volunteers will prepare the veteran meals using recipes collected throughout Macri’s more than 30-years’ experience as professional chef. Recipes food insecure veterans have already enjoyed.

“I originally heard about the Abundant Harvest’s food pantry through Combined Arms,” said Navy Veteran Steven Barnett. “I remember once they had prepared an amazing chili. Heating instructions were labeled and the guys who received the meals were blown away by the taste. Easy and delicious. It was great to see the veterans so happy.”

More than 24% of the veteran community is food insecure. The veteran food distribution is one of many outreach missions led by the Abundant Harvest Kitchen to help solve food insecurity. They are a senior agency partner of the Montgomery County Food Bank and source over a million pounds of food every year. Those who qualify for assistance through the Abundant Harvest food pantry, also qualify for free workouts with their certified personal trainer, nutrition classes and many other programs hosted on site.

“It’s really important people understand what we have built here,” said Abundant Harvest Executive Director Sean Steele. “We are trying to show the world that we don’t have to live in this culture of scarcity. That help can be found not just for immediate needs – but for all needs. We want to put people on a path toward restoration and help them experience real joy.”

According to their Web site, Waste Connections serves millions of customers across the United States and Canada. Their corporate values center on integrity, and they are the premier provider of solid waste collection, transfer, recycling and disposal services in mostly exclusive and secondary markets. They have 71 recycling facilities and are dedicated to helping their communities thrive. Their success has given them the ability to give, and that success is going to help feed thousands of veterans.

“This is who we are,” said Little. “We love to help the communities we serve and where our employees live. It’s all part of what we do.”

The schedule and distribution times for the veteran meals will be published on their Web site www.harvestkitchen.org by the first week of March. All questions can be emailed to team@harvestkitchen.org.

Abundant Harvest Kitchen is a non-profit dedicated to feeding the body, nourishing the soul, and transforming the community. The organization operates a bistro in which 100% of the profits go toward their food pantry, which feeds more than a 100 thousand families each year, and their wellness programs that provide resources to thousands of veterans and their families.