One local chef is using skills for good and helping the community

- A long-sought after job. Personal goals achieved. Sounds like a dream, right? Maybe not.

A local man says he needed more. He wanted to help other people.

As a chef, Jared Cannon has seen the food industry in a way that most never will.

“Every city in this country has a hunger problem. You might not see it, you might not know it. Homelessness, hunger. So, our goal is to get out there and serve these communities,” said Jared Cannon.

From as young an age as he can remember, all Jared wanted to be was a chef.

“It’s just something I was always fascinated by. Food and feeding people and people congregating around this thing you prepared,” said Cannon.

He was very successful, working in some of the top restaurants across the country. But, like many dreams, personal achievement can also lead to eyes being opened to things never expected.

“Having this realization that all of this food is going to waste. Sometimes you see it. It’s a mistake, the server rang in the wrong thing, so, boom, give me something else. Or medium rare was a little too rare for the individual and we’re not going to throw it back on the grill because that would contaminate it, so we have to do another one,” Cannon explained.

He still wanted to be a chef, but thought about ways to do well while doing good.

“I started with this idea – eat well, feel good, waste less. And, those three things, almost in order, is kind of where the concept of Simply Good Jars came from,” Cannon added.

FOX 29’s Bill Anderson spent a morning with Jared and his team at the Simply Good Jars kitchen as they prepared the meals. The self-serve refrigerators are spread out throughout the region allowing people to purchase healthy meals and snacks, but that’s not really what makes them unique. Serving the community is.

“Nothing goes in the garbage. We’re able to reuse the container and our incentive to our customers is every jar that comes back to us, we’re going to donate one meal to feed the hungry and the homeless,” stated Cannon.

They buy all supplies from local farmers, who often have to throw away unused crops. Any food that doesn’t sell is donated, not thrown away and, perhaps, the best part, they allow people to help those in need in their community just by not throwing away the containers. And, Jared says it’s helping…quickly.

“It’s been great. We’ve donated over 6000 meals in seven and a half months,” Jared said.

Simply Good Jars is inspiring, not so much because the food is good and the business is growing, but more so because of the message it sends.

“We’ve been really proud of the success that we’ve seen with people giving back to their own community. It’s crazy,” Jared said.

Using skills for personal achievement, that’s fine, but using them to succeed and help the community – that’s doing it for goodness’ sake.
 

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