But the coffee company's leftover food is doing more than just feeding the community.

By Elisabeth Sherman
Updated June 27, 2017
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Starbucks is making good on a promise they made last year to donate all their unused food to worthy causes.

According to the Chicago Tribune, homeless shelters in Chicago have partnered with Starbucks through the organizations Feeding America and the Greater Chicago Food Depository to make sure the coffee company's uneaten food doesn't go to waste.

Unsold salads and sandwiches from the coffee chain’s Mercato line, which is only available in Chicago at the moment, (but may be introduced nationwide if the line gains popularity) are now donated to three of the city’s shelters. The Tribune reports that many of the meals include healthy options like a Cuban sandwich and the green goddess avocado salad. The Mercato meals are certainly a step up from the “brown bag lunch,” and PB&J that is typically handed out to the shelter residents.

“There's something respectful about giving out good, quality food," Ed Jacob, executive director of Franciscan Outreach, which runs Franciscan House, one of the shelters that receives the Starbucks donations, told the Tribune. "It's a dignity thing. It's not like putting bologna between two slices of bread."

Starbucks hopes to donate prepared food from every single one of their locations by 2020, but for now their so-called FoodShare program operates in cities like Chicago, San Diego, and New York City.

The Greater Chicago Food Depository says it collects around 1,900 pounds of food from Starbucks every night, which can feed more than one thousand people. They’re not the only chain trying to end hunger in the city: Last year, Pret a Manger donated 50,000 pounds of sandwiches, salads, and wraps that went uneaten to missions in Chicago.

The Chicago shelters hope that having prepared meals ready for visitors to the shelter will relieve some of their stress, and help them focus on other aspects of their lives, like finding housing, with the added bonus that Chicago's homeless residents can now feel just a little bit healthier and happier about what they eat.