Guglhupf's Executive Chef David Alworth can't exactly pinpoint when the Durham restaurant, cafe and bakery began the daily practice of donating half-a-dozen-or-so large bags of day-old bread and pastries to poor people.
He recalls that drivers for Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abusers (TROSA) were already making pick-ups by the time Alworth joined the Guglhupf' staff.
"So, at least seven years," says Alworth, who also pounds bass for the legendary Chapel Hill punk band (and beer-can magnet) Pipe.
But about three weeks ago, TROSA gave notice that the pickup-and-delivery system would be phased out.
"They're just streamlining their operation," Alworth says. "I don't know if it was too much of a pain for them to stop by every day with the van. It was usually a two-guy crew."
Alworth is now trying to figure out a new system for distributing the food from the Chapel Hill Boulevard location to hungry folks in the Triangle. There's always plenty to go around. Wholesalers order more than they need. Rainy days happen. And sometimes, says Alworth, the overproduction of baguettes, brezels and sliced breads and pastries "is on us."
"I'm not comfortable putting this in my dumpster," he says of the yummy products. "There are so many hungry people around."
He's reached out to Urban Ministries, which is open to receiving the goods, but not able to come get them. For now, he says, he's willing to make drop-offs himself (and a few of his staff members have offered to step up as well).
Alworth has also reached out on social media. Friends want to help, but Alworth says he doesn't want to "put that on them."
"I'm sure there are church organizations," he says, adding that even once-or-twice-a-week pickups would help. "Ideally, I'd love for somebody to come up with this idea for a program where people just drive around to restaurants. I've been running places in this area for over 20 years. It's amazing — the food waste."
So, if anyone out there — especially an organization — would like pick up and deliver surplus food from Guglhupf for a good cause, you can email Alworth at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Make sure to type "Attn: Dave" in the beginning of the subject line.)
Alworth says there's really only one thing he asks of potential volunteers.
"Give it to hungry people. That's it. That's all I care about."
: Urban Ministries has stepped up after all.