Unsold Food At Sports Events Feeds Local Hungry

Image: Rock And Wrap It Up!
Image: Rock And Wrap It Up!

This article was originally published on TKN May 15, 2014.

Ever wonder what happens to food that doesn’t sell at hockey games?

In Toronto and many cities across North America, it goes to feed the hungry.

Rock And Wrap It Up! is a charity that takes delicious food that is “prepared but not sold,” and gives it to the people who need it most.

So let’s say you’re at a Toronto Maple Leafs hockey game and you order a slice of pizza. If there are any slices left over, under the heat lamps, for instance—that’s perfectly good food that won’t go to waste, thanks to Rock And Wrap It Up!

The charity was started by Syd Mandelbaum back in 1991.

He was looking for a way to give back to the United States, the country that sheltered his parents after the Holocaust in the World War II.

“I wanted to say thank you for letting them have a life there,” he said.

Mandelbaum was doing some work with musicians, and he discovered that when bands play, they get a lot of expensive food backstage for their band members and stage hands. And a lot of it doesn’t get eaten.

Mandelbaum asked some bands to include a note in their contracts that says “All edible leftover food, prepared but not served, must not go into landfill but must be recovered by Rock and Wrap It Up!”

Image: Rock And Wrap It Up!
Image: Rock And Wrap It Up!

In other words, if a concert promoter wanted to hire a band like Aerosmith, or the Rolling Stones or Avril Lagivne or Britney Spears, they had to promise not to throw out any prepared food.

Not only does that help hungry people, but it means that food isn’t going into the garbage or a “landfill.” So it won’t give off gasses like CO2 or methane, which can be harmful to the environment.

At Toronto’s Air Canada Centre, for instance, after hockey games 200 to 300 pieces of good food are wrapped up and given to shelters to feed 100 to 200 people in Toronto.

“The NHL was our first North American partner,” said Mandelbaum. “Every hockey team gives their food to the poor.”

Rock And Wrap It Up! has struck deals with all of the NHL hockey teams, major stadiums and arenas in North America, sports teams, schools, hospitals and hotels.

Many hotels give Rock and Wrap It Up! unused boxes of tissues, wrapped soaps, shampoo and conditioner and anything else people can use.

More than 5,000 people who work in food-handling agencies in Canada and the U.S. collect the food and take it where it’s needed.

In Toronto, for instance, an agency called Second Harvest does the food collecting and transporting. They are experts in the handling of food so it remains delicious from the time it leaves the arena until it gets onto the plate of someone who will enjoy it.

Related links
Rock And Wrap It Up has many school activities which teachers can access here.

Rock And Wrap It Up’s website.

Second Harvest’s website.

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Pizza from the hockey game is one type of food that can be donated to people who don’t have enough to eat. Where else could you find leftover food that might go to waste? What could be done with this food?

Reading Prompt: Analysing Texts
How did the journalist tie the concluding paragraph to the opening question in the article?

Identify specific elements of texts and explain how they contribute to the meaning of the texts (OME, Reading: 1.7).

Analyse texts and explain how various elements in them contribute to meaning (OME, Reading: 1.7).

Analyse a variety of texts, both simple and complex, and explain how the dif- ferent elements in them contribute to meaning and influence the reader’s reaction (OME, Reading: 1.7).

Language Feature: Rhetorical question
When people ask a questions, they expect an answer. This is not the case with rhetorical questions. A rhetorical question is one that is asked but the speaker or writer does not expect an answer.

Why do you think the journalist chose to begin this article with a rhetorical question?