Feeding the Nation
In fiscal year 2013, our Regional Fresh Produce Sourcing team alone generated nearly 40 million pounds of produce for hungry Americans. Sourcers help local food banks establish and expand relationships with farmers and growers while facilitating the passage of excess produce from one food bank to another, ensuring that no extra food is wasted. We believe this approach has the potential to revolutionize our produce program. Currently, Feeding America is in the process of expanding this program in Georgia and Michigan. Feeding America and our network of members will have a total of 10 sourcers working in the field to deliver even more produce in 2014.
Another way we reduce waste and ensure safe, good food is provided to people in need is by working closely with manufacturing partners. Feeding America accepts bulk ingredients, mislabeled or underweight packaged foods and any product that might be out of specification but is still good food, like misshaped meat patties or off size fruit pieces. Volunteers package and label items so that clients receive accurately labeled, nutritious food that might otherwise have gone to landfills. Our work with national manufacturers helped increase food donations in this channel to more than 734 million meals in 2013 and will continue to drive future growth.
LEADING THE MOVEMENT
In June, Feeding America released our third annual Map the Meal Gap study with the generous support of ConAgra Foods Foundation, Nielsen and The Howard G. Buffett Foundation. Map the Meal Gap is a groundbreaking tool for fighting hunger that provides critical information that was not available prior to the beginning of this study in 2011—food insecurity rates for every county and congressional district in the country. This year’s data makes a powerful point: people face hunger in every community in the United States at a magnitude that has remained essentially the same when compared to 2012 findings. Feeding America’s exclusive Map the Meal Gap study and interactive digital map have garnered more than 1.5 billion total media impressions.
In the U.S., obesity and diet-related disease and food insecurity coexist. Feeding America is uniquely positioned to help improve the health of our clients by providing healthful food and nutrition education. Beginning in February 2013, Feeding America teamed up with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to host a six-part Kids Eat Right Hunger webinar series to raise awareness of food insecurity as a public health issue.
More than 3,200 registered dietitians have participated to date. The series is part of a larger Future of Food project with the National Dairy Council.
Many of Feeding America’s corporate Leadership, Mission and Supporting partners were invited to Chicago in June for the annual Feeding America 2013 Donor Summit. Each year, key stakeholders have the opportunity to network with one another, meet with Feeding America CEO Bob Aiken, take a close look into Feeding America’s strategic priorities, and collaborate on innovative partnership models. This year’s participants included Allstate, Ameriprise Financial, Bank of America, ConAgra Foods, Kroger, Panera Bread, Target and The Dunkin’ Donuts & Baskin Robbins Community Foundation, among other generous partners.
STRENGTHENING THE SYSTEM
Because the Feeding America network is both a national organization and a direct-service organization that delivers food at the community level, we are one of the most powerful voices for people who are hungry in America. To ensure our food banks have the support and tools they need to spread awareness about the hunger crisis and drive support for our mission, Feeding America holds the annual Mobilizing the Public conference for network members. This year, more than 400 network staff attended the conference. The CEO of partner organization Goodwill Industries International, Jim Gibbons, gave the keynote address.
Nearly 16 million children face hunger in America.
To reach more hungry kids Feeding America developed the Child Hunger Corps to help scale effective programs. Each Child Hunger Corps member is placed at a Feeding America food bank for two years with the support of ConAgra Foods Foundation. This summer, the second cohort of corps members completed their service term and the fourth cohort of six motivated young professionals began their training. The new cohort underwent lessons in food banking, food insecurity, child feeding programs and community building to prepare them for their positions.