04/20/2020|Inside Verizon

Now that’s good food.

By: Jeremy Godwin

The V Team donates 135,000 meals that would have gone to waste to local non-profits.

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As tens of thousands of Verizon employees get settled into working from home, many of us have to plan what we’ll eat for lunch. But what about all of the delicious food we used to eat for lunch back at work? Now, it’s going to good use.

“When we started the work-from-home model, we essentially left the offices and never came back, so we left 135,000 lunches in the refrigerators and the pantry,” said Peter Vanderloo, Legal Counsel,, Global Real Estate. “So we knew we had to do something right away.”

A team from Verizon Media and Global Real Estate, which manages food service at the Basking Ridge headquarters and other Verizon facilities, came together and discussed potential solutions, as well as the issue of hunger within the local communities. 

Millions of households in the United States struggled with food insecurity before the pandemic. In the new climate of social distancing, Feeding America announced their local food banks projected a shortfall of $1.4 billion over the next six months. Other organizations across the country were experiencing a similar crunch.

“People are losing their jobs and turning to food pantries,” said Peter. “Food pantry shelves are quickly running empty and food insecurity is on the rise, so we saw a great opportunity.”

The Verizon Media and Global Real Estate team came up with a clear game plan and got to work. Having a nationwide footprint allowed the team to identify and organize donations to local non-profit organizations across the country. In total, Verizon was able to donate $423,000 worth of food from its cafeterias, which translates to 250,000 pounds of food (or 135,000 meals).

“What made this special was how quickly we came together and all agreed that this was 100% the right thing to do,” says Spencer Plaut, manager of food service for Global Real Estate.

“This food is spread out across 25 locations with on-site cafeterias across the country,” said Spencer. “We have a variety of products - fruit, vegetables, dairy, frozen chicken - that we are able to donate.”

“It doesn’t matter how big or small, people want to help,” said Joe Rossi, Executive Director of Real Estate Operations. “It doesn’t take just one group to get this done, it takes the effort of many and we got that support.”

One location that received a donation was Second Harvest. “Here at Second Harvest, we have always said that we cannot end hunger alone,” said Leslie Bacho, CEO of Second Harvest of Silicon Valley. “We are grateful for Verizon's support and for reminding us that we are stronger as a community when we help each other during times of crisis.” 

This was truly a win-win project for all involved. “It was awesome to see how we were all aligned. We all wanted to do the right thing,” said Peter. “That puts a huge smile on my face.”

About the author:

Jeremy Godwin is a member of the Verizon Corporate Communications team and a regular host of Up to Speed. He's the team's resident tech geek and media junkie.

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