“We have this surplus of food:” Greendale restaurant is serving the entire community

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GREENDALE -- In an effort to cut down on food waste while at the same time, helping to feed the homeless, a Greendale restaurant is serving the entire community.

LongHorn Steakhouse HarvestPrime rib, fish, vegetables and dessert are the kinds of things you'd expect to see in the kitchen of LongHorn Steakhouse in Greendale.

But this food wouldn't be served up at the restaurant.

"We have this surplus of food that has great nutritional value," said Jessica Headley, managing partner.

Unused fresh food was loaded onto a truck headed for the Milwaukee Rescue Mission -- part of a program called the LongHorn Steakhouse Harvest.

"We will freeze the product to make sure we are sucking in the nutrients in each item before we can send it out to them," said Headley.

LongHorn Steakhouse Harvest

"Donations that are coming from LongHorn and other organizations around Milwaukee provide over a half-million dollars worth of our budget for food," said Dan Brown, VP of Programs at the Milwaukee Rescue Mission.

Milwaukee Rescue Mission officials come to LongHorn Steakhouse twice a week. They pick up the food, load it into the cooler and normally, they gather more than 100 pounds of food per week.

LongHorn Steakhouse Harvest

"Think of going and getting a quarter-pound burger. Now we get a 100 pounds of good food to put into a meal for people," said Brown.

Over the last two years, LongHorn has donated about 20,000 pounds of food.

LongHorn Steakhouse Harvest"Which translates to about 16,000 meals that we have been able to provide," aid Headley.

And it means much more to some than a full belly.

"The point of the Rescue Mission is to transform lives, and that often starts with a hot meal," said Brown.

LongHorn's Harvest program is a company-wide initiative. Olive Garden and The Capital Grille also participate in it.