Food pantries benefit from Detroit Metro Airport donations


Associated Press

TAYLOR — A chicken Caesar salad from Papa Joe’s Gourmet Market and a Starbucks blueberry Greek yogurt parfait are treats travelers can select at concession areas inside Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

But those are extremely rare delicacies for Krystle Nye, 30, a single mom in Romulus.

The mom of five recently visited a Taylor food pantry where she was able to select them from the shelves of a cooler because of a food recovery program implemented by the airport.

Detroit Metro is one of several airports — including San Francisco International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Denver International Airport and Portland International Airport — committed to reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills while supporting their communities. Detroit Metropolitan Airport has donated nearly 25,000 pounds of food since the program began in July 2016. It collects about 485 pounds a week on average to donate to the Fish and Loaves Community Food Pantry in Taylor.

Nye fought back tears to express her delight.

“This is such a blessing,” she said while with her five children inside the Taylor food pantry. “It’s extra special because my kids will love this.”

That is what is at the heart of the food recovery program. If the food is not being purchased by travelers, why waste it?

“Detroit Metropolitan Airport’s food rescue program helps fulfill several important goals for our team,” said Sara Kaplan, Wayne County Airport Authority’s sustainability program administrator. “The airport reduces its food waste, which in turn helps reduce greenhouse gasses and our airport’s carbon footprint. Through teamwork and partnerships, we are also able to send quality, nutritious food to those in need within our community — something we can all be proud of.”

Food is collected in the McNamara Terminal throughout the week and stored in coolers at the airport loading dock. Forgotten Harvest picks up the food on Fridays and delivers it to Fish and Loaves, where food pantry volunteers then immediately go into action.