Mobile Pantry to Serve Nearly 3.5 Million Nutritious Meals to Columbia and Midlands Families over Next Three Years
COLUMBIA, SC – November 7, 2008 – Kraft Foods Inc. (NYSE:KFT) and Feeding America today announced expanded efforts to reach hungry families in America during these challenging economic times. To provide more Americans with better access to more nutritious, balanced and delicious meals, the organizations’ leaders unveiled a new national mobile pantry program that will deliver more than 50 million meals over the next three years. The Harvest Hope Food Bank in Columbia, S.C. is among the first seven markets that will receive one of the program’s 25 mobile pantries.
To support the mobile pantry effort, in addition to providing millions of pounds of food, Kraft is donating $4.5 million to Feeding America over the next three years to purchase up to 25 mobile pantries. Over the last 25 years, Kraft has contributed $770 million in funding and food to support Feeding America and other hunger relief initiatives worldwide. The mobile pantry program is part of Kraft’s new, three-year $180 million commitment to fighting hunger and supporting healthy lifestyles globally.
With an average 40 percent increase in our demand for service since last year, Harvest Hope Food Bank has witnessed the greatest need since it opened its doors in 1981, said Denise R. Holland, CEO, Harvest Hope Food Bank. Being awarded a refrigerated truck from Kraft Foods is a true blessing. With the extraordinary numbers of hungry people in our 20-county area, we can now provide more food to more people more often. We are exceptionally grateful.
The face of hunger in America is changing, said Irene Rosenfeld, Chairman and CEO, Kraft Foods. As the leading food company in America, I’m proud that Kraft is stepping up to help families put nutritious meals on their tables. For more than 25 years, in partnership with Feeding America, we’ve made America’s favorite brands available to those in need. Now we’re building on our long-standing support with a new fleet of mobile pantries to reach even more hungry families.
Hunger in America is increasing at an alarming rate, said Vicki Escarra, President and CEO, Feeding America. For more than a quarter century, Kraft Foods has consistently provided the resources and innovation to help fight hunger in the United States. In these difficult economic times, it’s more important than ever to reach the hungry. Kraft has helped us fund a creative program to serve those most in need. Together, we’re feeding America, one meal and one mile at a time.
Food Insecurity on the Rise
The announcement comes at a time of increased concern given the recent economic downturn. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that food insecurity — recurring lack of access to adequate amounts of nutritious food — is experienced by more than 35 million Americans.
A new poll commissioned by Kraft Foods, which is referenced in a case study (http://www.feedingamerica.org/kraftfoods) released by Feeding America today, found a shocking rate of food insecurity across diverse economic brackets. Nearly half of the 1,000 people surveyed said economic changes have threatened their ability to provide their families with balanced, nutritious meals from a range of food groups including fresh fruits, vegetables and proteins. Almost 45 percent said recent economic changes have threatened their ability to provide enough food for their families. And 56 percent of those making $25,000 or less a year said they are more likely to use a food pantry.
Since January, there has been about 40 percent increase in the demand for service compared to 2007 for the 20 counties served by Harvest Hope. In the first nine months of 2008, the Columbia on-site Emergency Food Pantry distributed 1,068,200 pounds of food to 30,520 people. To date in 2008, Harvest Hope provided 162 mobile food pantry distributions, providing 462,911 pounds of food to 13,224 individuals.
Mobile Pantry Feeds America – One Mile at a Time
The Kraft Mobile Pantry — literally a pantry on wheels — will help feed thousands of Americans at risk of hunger by bringing food directly to communities that are currently underserved by food pantries, soup kitchens and other emergency-feeding programs. The initiative builds on the success of a Chicago-area pilot program funded by Kraft Foods in recent years.
By making an average of three trips a week, each vehicle can distribute the equivalent of 1.1 million meals annually to Americans who might otherwise go hungry. Over the next three years, as these vehicles are deployed across the country, these mobile pantries will provide more than 50 million meals to families in need.
In addition to Columbia, during the first year of the program, mobile pantries will be delivered to New York; Chicago; San Antonio; Madison, Wis.; Central Valley (Fresno area), Calif. and Cincinnati.
Many food distribution agencies, including those receiving mobile pantries in the first year of the program, are more than 120 miles from the nearest food bank. Even in urban settings, there is an increase in food deserts — places where there are no grocery stores or supermarkets within walking distance. And, many people are newly in need of food assistance and don’t know where to find help. These brightly colored, beverage-style trucks will directly provide hungry families with balanced meal options including, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and Oscar Mayer meats, along with fresh fruits, vegetables and dairy products. Stops will be made at neighborhood food pantries, soup kitchens, churches, schools or parking lots.
When it comes to innovation, Kraft may be best known for delicious products like Nabisco 100 Calorie Packs, Oreo Cakesters or Kraft Bagel-fuls, but our quest for innovation also extends into our community outreach, said Rosenfeld. The mobile pantry partnership with Feeding America builds on what Kraft does everyday. We bring delicious and nutritious foods to market.
A Call to Action to Columbia
In addition to the mobile pantry announcement, Kraft and Feeding America are encouraging others to get involved through the new Fill-A-Bowl, Feed America campaign launched by Feeding America today. Donations can be made online at http://www.feedingamerica.org/fillabowlfeedamerica. As the program’s inaugural partner, Kraft will match consumer donations dollar for dollar up to $200,000 starting today. With Kraft’s match, each dollar donated by consumers will enable Feeding America to fill 32 bowls for hungry families. Kraft’s match alone will help provide up to 3.2 million meals this holiday season.
Also today, Kraft employees kicked-off the effort by making donations to Fill-A-Bowl, Feed America, supported by a 2:1 Kraft match. This initiative begins a new chapter in Kraft’s tradition of employee involvement. Earlier this week, the company launched new efforts, such as Dollars for Doers and an enhanced matching gifts program, to engage more employees in community activities across the globe.
Kraft’s Support of Hunger and Healthy Lifestyles
As America’s leading food company, Kraft Foods is taking a stand when it comes to hunger. Since 1997, Kraft has provided more than 1 billion servings of fresh food worldwide. Around the world, Kraft contributes approximately $100 million annually in food and money to community organizations in more than 130 countries. By partnering with organizations, such as Feeding America, Kraft provides much-needed food to hungry people throughout the United States. Kraft is a mission and founding partner of Feeding America.
ABOUT KRAFT FOODS INC.
Kraft Foods (http://www.kraft.com/) is the world’s second largest food company with annual revenues of approximately $40 billion and sales in more than 150 countries. For
more than a century, we’ve been inspired by consumers to deliver delicious foods that fit the way they live. From American brand icons like Kraft cheeses, dinners and dressings, Maxwell House coffees and Oscar Mayer meats, to global powerhouse brands like Oreo and LU biscuits, Philadelphia cream cheeses, Jacobs and Carte Noire coffees, Tang powdered beverages and Milka, Cote d’Or, Lacta and Toblerone chocolates, we’re proud that our brands deliver millions of smiles a day. Kraft Foods (NYSE:KFT) is a member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Standard & Poor’s 500, the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and Ethibel Sustainability Index.
ABOUT FEEDING AMERICA (FORMERLY AMERICA’S SECOND HARVEST)
Feeding America provides individuals and families facing hunger with the fuel to survive and even thrive. As the nation’s largest domestic hunger- relief charity, our network members supply food to more than 25 million Americans each year, including 9 million children and 3 million seniors. Serving the entire United States, more than 200 member food banks operate 63,000 agencies that address hunger through emergency food assistance and programs. For more information on how you can fight hunger in your community and across the country, visit http://www.feedingamerica.org/.
ABOUT HARVEST HOPE FOOD BANK
Harvest Hope Food Bank, established in 1981 as an emergency boxed meal food program and food bank, has grown into a regional food distribution center, serving 20 counties in central South Carolina. With the mission to provide for the needs of hungry people by gathering and sharing quality food with dignity, compassion and education, Harvest Hope collects, stores and distributes food and related items through its more than 400 member agencies distributing on average 22 million pounds of food to more than 350,000 families annually.