OSL: The Food Rescue Experts


Ever wondered what happens to the left over slices at the end of the night? Or where the pizzas go that get mushrooms when they shouldn't have? We turn to OSL, a lifeline in Seattle for those who struggle with secure access to food in our community.

OSL began in 1989 by handing out 30 organic sack lunches a day. They were originally named OPERATION: Sack Lunch, but as the needs of the community grew, so did they. They are now known as OSL. They use the letters as a daily reminder that they're ONLY Serving Love.

OSL is a progressive leader in effective efforts to fight hunger. They promote compassionate attitudes surrounding poverty and homelessness. They advocate for, and support, an equitable food system for all, and they are primarily volunteer based. They’ve served 6.5 million free meals to those most in need, and do this through the creation and delivery of nutritionally dense, no-cost meals.

Pagliacci and OSL

OSL has to purchase whatever they can't get donated, so food rescue is a huge part of what they do. They go out and rescue food that is still perfectly edible, but we're not able to sell. This helps us reduce the amount of food waste that we produce. Every slice that gets donated and eaten is another slice that hasn't been composted, and we're all for that.

So how does this work? OSL provides designated food safe bins to our locations that fit into their delivery and pick up route. The bins hold all of our donated food items, and they come to pick up several times a week. We track the slices on the bar with timers to make sure we're only putting safe food into the bins, and we date each bin. Breadsticks, vegetables, pizzas with wrong toppings, or slice bar slices that got timed out make up the bulk of our contributions.

Abid Choudhury, the office administrator for OSL, says, “The pizzas we get from Pagliacci are wonderful, and the assortment really gets the clients excited as they point and choose which slice they’d love to get.”

Food rescue is part of Seattle’s commitment to reducing food waste. To support this effort, Seattle Public Utilities recently came to Pagliacci’s Mercer Island locaton to film what effective food rescue looks like during an OSL scheduled pick-up. The goal is to encourage other local businesses to donate their leftover edible foods, and later this fall, the video will be shown at a conference.

Pagliacci is proud to be part of the effort to reduce food waste while providing food to those in need. OSL helps make that possible. They couldn't be a more valuable part of our community.