ORLANDO, Fla. (WCTV) – Darden Restaurants is helping Feeding America add refrigerated trucks for 10 member food banks to support mobile pantry programs and food distribution in communities that need it most, according to a statement. .
With a $2 million grant from the Darden Restaurants, Inc. Foundation and support from partners Penske Truck Leasing and Lineage Logistics, each food bank will receive a 26-foot vehicle that can transport 12,000 pounds of food at a time, and will also receive $52,000 to be used for food and other needs.
“Across our business, we have a higher purpose to feed and delight all those we serve, and that includes the communities where we operate our restaurants,” said Rick Cardenas, President and CEO of Darden Restaurants. “We are uniquely positioned to help fight hunger, and we are proud to continue to help more Feeding America member food banks increase access to nutritious food for those who need it most.
The rate of inflation has driven grocery prices up more than 13% over the past year, and families are turning to local food banks for help. Communities of color continue to experience food insecurity at a disproportionately higher rate.
In addition, local food banks also face the impacts of inflation, which leads to increased food costs and the transportation needed to acquire and deliver food to their communities. Feeding America helped identify food banks serving communities of color with disproportionately high levels of food insecurity to receive a truckload to help increase their mobile pantry capacity.
“While food prices remain stubbornly high, the nearly 34 million people who experienced food insecurity in 2021 continue to face a stark choice between buying food or paying for other living needs. base, like electricity or medicine,” said Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO of Feeding America. “In this Hunger Action Month, we are grateful for the collaborative efforts of Darden, Penske and Lineage to continue to provide member food banks with refrigerated trucks that will help reach more communities and provide millions of meals to individuals and families across the country.
Darden and the Darden Foundation have been partners with Feeding America for over 10 years. This donation marks the latest effort in Darden’s ongoing commitment to help fight hunger, and it follows two previous donations that provided 15 refrigerated trucks for food banks located in: Birmingham, Ala. ; Columbus, Georgia; Detroit, Michigan; ft. Worth, Texas; Huntsville, Alabama; Jackson, miss; Jacksonville, Florida; Memphis, TN; Monroe, Louis; Orlando, Florida; San Antonio, TX; Shreveport, Louisiana; Tampa, Florida; Theodore, Alabama; and Tyler, Texas.
In the first year of serving their communities, these trucks performed more than 7,000 mobile food pantry distributions and helped deliver more than 27 million meals.
This work builds on Darden’s ongoing Harvest program, which donates unserved nutritious food from Darden’s family of restaurants to local nonprofits. Since the program’s inception, Darden’s team members have “harvested” over 130 million pounds of food, or more than 108 million meals.
About Feed America:
Feeding America is the largest hunger relief organization in the United States. Through a network of more than 200 food banks, 21 statewide food bank associations, and more than 60,000 partner agencies, food pantries, and meal programs, they’ve helped provide $6.6 billion in meals to tens of millions of people in need last year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent food waste and improve the food security of the people they serve; draws attention to the social and systemic barriers that contribute to food insecurity in our country; and advocates for legislation that protects people from hunger.
For more information visit the Feed America website here.
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