The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) teamed up with the Greater Chicago Food Depository to support local hunger relief during its annual show, FMI Connect 2014, June 10-13 at McCormick Place, ultimately collecting 21,853 pounds of donations from more than 800 exhibitors for the food bank.
“The food retail industry‘s proud tradition of community involvement is demonstrated in the near-universal supermarket support of local food banks and feeding programs. FMI Connect is delighted to support local hunger relief through its partnership with the Greater Chicago Food Depository,” says Leslie G. Sarasin, president and CEO for FMI.
At the conclusion of FMI Connect 2014, the show’s exhibitors were encouraged to donate unused food, which was collected by Food Depository volunteers and distributed at food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters across Cook County. The resulting 21,853 pounds provide the equivalent of 18,210 meals for local individuals and families in need. FMI has also donated booth space for the Food Depository to engage show visitors.
“This partnership with FMI Connect comes at a time when nearly 800,000 men, women and children in our community are food insecure,” says Gerry Maguire, vice president of supply chain for the Greater Chicago Food Depository. “Collaboration with the food retail industry is a critical part of hunger relief, and we are grateful for the resulting awareness and meals that FMI Connect 2014 made possible for our neighbors in need.”
The Food Depository distributes 66 million pounds of food annually, including 21 million pounds of produce, to 650 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and programs in Cook County. The number of individuals served at Cook County food pantries has increased 70% since the start of the recession.
FMI Connect will return to Chicago in 2015, 2016 and 2017.