Partnership helps to address the protein gap; provides nutritious food to children and families who face hunger
Chicago, IL /PRNewswire/ - Today, Feeding America® and Cargill announced that they are partnering with the Houston Food Bank, a member of the Feeding America network, to provide more protein and other nutritious food to people who face hunger throughout the Houston area.
Cargill is investing in a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) clean room, a food processing space that is inspected and monitored by the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service. USDA clean rooms enable the receipt of bulk format cartons of protein from industry partners that food banks can then convert to retail-sized portions.
Protein is the most difficult food group for member food banks to obtain for children and families who face hunger due to costs and short shelf life; however, it is a critical part of a balanced diet. Last year, the Feeding America nationwide network of 200 member food banks received 410 million pounds of protein, well below the 4.8 billion pounds needed to meet the federally suggested dietary requirement, while 15 billion pounds of meat, poultry and seafood goes to landfill* annually. This partnership helps to close this protein gap and reduce food waste.
"People who struggle with hunger do not have regular access to enough food for a healthy, active life. We are proud to partner with Cargill and the Houston Food Bank to provide nutritious food and protein to our neighbors who struggle to put food on their tables," said Blake Thompson, chief supply chain officer at Feeding America.
"It is important to the Houston Food Bank to increase food access for those in need and, more specifically, to make nutritious foods a part of their regular diet," says Brian Greene, president and CEO of the Houston Food Bank. "Protein and fresh produce are extremely important to all diets and among the most sought-after food items by food banks and the neighbors we serve. With the new clean room, sponsored by Cargill, some of the barriers to providing much-needed protein for better lives will be removed."
USDA clean rooms operated by Feeding America food banks will follow a hub-and-spoke model in which the "clean room central hub food bank" assists in the sourcing and distribution of protein for their own service area as well as "spoke" service areas served by other food banks. On average, a 30' x 40' facility can help prepare 300,000 pounds of additional protein per year. The installation of a USDA clean room at one food bank helped to increase overall protein donations by 60%.
"This new clean room is a critical milestone in our efforts to address hunger, food loss and waste, and food safety," said Pete Stoddart, Cargill's corporate responsibility lead in North America. "This is just one of the ways we are improving communities through the power of food."
In addition to funding a clean room, Cargill recently donated $3 million to the Feeding America to support ongoing efforts to reduce food waste and improve access to produce and other nutritious food. Cargill also supports workforce development through investment in community kitchen and other job training programs at 26 Feeding America food banks.
Cargill is a long-standing partner of Feeding America and has impacted all 200 member food banks. Since 1986, the company has provided financial investments, product donations, employee engagement, and senior thought leadership. Cargill helped to revolutionize food safety within the Feeding America network through the implementation of a rigorous food safety program at every member food bank.
* USDA ERS Bulletin 121, Table 1: Estimated Total Food Loss in the United States, 2010
About Feeding America
Feeding America® is the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States. Through a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs, we provide meals to more than 46 million people each year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent food waste and improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate. Together we can solve hunger. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.
Cargill's 160,000 employees across 70 countries work relentlessly to achieve our purpose of nourishing the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way. Every day, we connect farmers with markets, customers with ingredients, and people and animals with the food they need to thrive. We combine 154 years of experience with new technologies and insights to serve as a trusted partner for food, agriculture, financial and industrial customers in more than 125 countries. Side-by-side, we are building a stronger, sustainable future for agriculture.
About Houston Food Bank
Houston Food Bank's mission is to provide food for better lives. Last year we provided access to 104 million nutritious meals in 18 counties in southeast Texas through our 1,500 community partners which includes food pantries, soup kitchens, social service providers and schools. We have a strong focus on healthy foods and fresh produce. In addition to distributing food, we provide services and connections to programs that address the root causes of hunger and are aimed at helping families achieve long-term stability, including nutrition education, job training, health management and help with securing state-funded assistance. We are a resource for individuals and families in times of hardship. We are a solution to food waste, working with grocery stores and growers to rescue food before it reaches landfills. In collaboration with our community, we advocate for policy change and promote dialogue on ways to increase access to food and to improve the lives of those we serve. Houston Food Bank works alongside our partner food banks in Montgomery County, Galveston Country, and Brazos Valley. Houston Food Bank is a certified member of Feeding America, the nation's food bank network, with a four-star rating from Charity Navigator.
Visit the Houston Food Bank online. Website: houstonfoodbank.org; Facebook: www.facebook.com/thehoustonfoodbank; Twitter: @houstonfoodbank; Instagram: @houstonfoodbank; Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/houstonfoodbank