Specialty Food Magazine


Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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Page 155 of 203

Specialty Food Foundation Holds Expanded Embrace Hunger Relief Week On April 27, the Specialty Food Foundation kicked off Embrace Hunger Relief Week, 168 hours dedicated to spreading awareness about hunger issues in the U.S. The organization called on its members to rally together to volunteer with anti-hunger organizations throughout the country. It's the second annual Embrace Hunger Relief effort by the foun- dation, but this year, it's grown from one day to seven. "We've got members all across the country already involved in helping fght the hunger issue, because we're all part of the bigger food community," said Laura Lozada, philanthropy director for the Specialty Food Association. "The expansion to a full week is to put a bigger focus on embracing hunger relief and allowing our members more opportuni- ties to do something, whether it be donating a pallet of product or delivering food packages." Global hunger often comes up in conversations, but the problem plagues Americans' own backyards. In the U.S., 14.5 percent of the population lives in poverty, the leading cause of food insecurity, according to Feeding America. In 2013, 49.1 million Americans lived in food-insecure households, including 15.8 million children. To combat the issue, the foundation, established last year by the Specialty Food Association, has partnered with anti-hunger groups, such as the City Harvest, to organize volunteer events across the country. Several association members participated by donating prod- ucts, sending team members to assemble grocery boxes, and deploy- ing goods to local food banks and high-need schools. Mary Molina, owner of Lola Granola Bar, took her team to work with City Harvest, a New York City nonproft organization that collects surplus fruits and vegetables to bring to food pantries. The cause is close to home for Molina, who was once a food bank recipient herself. "The biggest issue for hunger relief is that most people don't know what hunger is or who is affected," she said. "Hunger affects the homeless, elderly, disabled persons, children, and the working poor—people who work, make a paycheck, pay rent, but can't afford to buy food for their family. Many of these people use food banks because they are not eligible for assistance from social services." Peanut Butter & Company founder Lee Zalben gathered his teams from multiple cities to pack and deploy grocery items with the New York Food Bank. While his employees volunteer for the food organization throughout the year, Zalben said he was particularly excited to have his entire staff from multiple cities (who were in town for an all-hands meeting) come together and further instill giving back as part of his company's mission. In Austin, Texas, the staff at Rhythm Superfoods volunteered with the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas, packing up food donations for local families. The company commits to donating 100 hours of time each year to volunteering for the food bank. "Everyone deserves access to healthy, nourishing meals and snacks, so anything that we can do to help provide that, we always try to do," said Janice Greenwald, vice president of brand marketing. "Anything that can be done to close that gap between food waste and food insecurity is an absolute necessity." Edible Software, which provides tools for wholesale food distri- bution, was back for the second year at of the Houston Food Bank, with plans to sort and pack donated products. "I see more and more news reports on local food banks and hubs distributing food to their local communities," said national sales manager Chris Reynolds. "We see those people as the groups and individuals that showcase commitment to humanity above other motivations." In New York City, staff from the Specialty Food Association (pictured above) worked at food rescue organization City Harvest to repack 13,000 pounds of grapefruit for distribution around the city. To learn more about Embrace Hunger Relief Week and how to get involved, either through organized events or contributing in your own community, visit specialtyfoodfoundation.org for more informa- tion.—Stephanie Cain This article originally appeared in Specialty Food News. Second Helpings (Indianapolis) has a team of 700 vol- unteers preparing meals from rescued food, which are delivered free of charge to 75 social-service partner agencies serving youth, adults, and seniors in Central Indiana. secondhelpings.org Table to Table (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey) is a community-based food-rescue program that collects fresh and prepared excess food from supermarkets, restaurants, and other food establishments. In 2014 alone, more than 13 million meals were delivered to 90 organizations serving hungry young children, victims of domestic violence, homeless individuals, medically frail adults, seniors, veterans, and people who are unem- ployed and underemployed. tabletotable.org Tarrant Area Food Bank (Fort Worth, Texas) distrib- utes 34 million pounds of food per year to people in need in the Greater Fort Worth region. Supporting programs include summer backpacks of food for chil- dren, afterschool feeding, cooking and nutrition class- es, community gardens, and the Community Kitchen. tafb.org—D.P. Learn more about the Specialty Food Foundation at specialtyfoodfoundation.org. SUMMER 2015 153

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