PROVIDENCE. R.I. (WPRI) — MEANS Database takes food that may normally be wasted and helps distribute it to people in need.

The nonprofit started as a college student’s senior project. Now, the nationwide organization has given millions of pounds of leftovers a new purpose.

MEANS Database came to Providence in 2018 and since then, they say they’ve rescued more than 52,200 meals.

Russell Morin Catering and Events is one company that works with them. Russell Morin said in his line of work, they end up with a lot of leftovers.

“We probably have a donation at least once a week,” he said.

He estimates the organization has helped his company reduce food waste by at least 30%. Morin said he’s grateful that his company can give back to the community.

“We want to do everything we can to help food insecurity,” he added. “We don’t want to have to put that in the dumpster.”

The process for donating the food is easy, according to Morin.

“What we’re able to do is dial in the MEANS Database, put a donation on the base, and then let somebody claim it,” he explained.

The Providence Rescue Mission is on the receiving end of donations from restaurants, grocery stores and catering companies like Morin’s. Executive Director Sean Carew told 12 News that every night, they offer showers, shelter and hot meals to people experiencing homelessness.

He said MEANS Database has been a huge help for the Mission.

“When you get different quality restaurants that are willing to give you food, I don’t really think you can put a price on that,” Carew said.

MEANS Database not only connects donors with recipients, but it also helps them form valuable partnerships.

“The organizations, the restaurants and the businesses that do it really tend to grab onto that and we see a lot of folks that get to connected to us through means, come and visit the Mission,” he added.

Morin admitted that his company’s donations are selfish since they help reduce his trash costs, but Carew sees their contributions differently.

“There’s an incredible generous spirit and caring spirit in New England,” Carew said. “It’s wonderful to see.”