United Fresh donated 40,109 lbs. of fresh produce and 1,183 lbs. of assorted dry food to the Greater Chicago Food Depository at the conclusion of the United Fresh 2014 annual convention and expo in Chicago last week. Volunteers helped collect donations from the convention floor to benefit those in need serviced by Greater Chicago Food Depository partner agencies such as food pantries, soup kitchens, and other emergency feeding centers.
The Greater Chicago Food Depository is a member of the Feeding America network of food banks. This year’s total donation of 41,292 lbs. continues a United Fresh tradition of supporting the Feeding America network after the annual convention.
“The generosity of United Fresh Produce Association, its exhibitors and partners comes at a time when nearly 800,000 people in Cook County are struggling to put food on their tables,” said Kate Maehr, Executive Director and CEO of the Greater Chicago Food Depository. “The rescued produce from United Fresh 2014 makes an immediate impact on hunger in our community. We are thankful for United Fresh Produce Association and Feeding America for supporting our commitment to providing nutritious food for our neighbors in need.”
The Food Depository, founded in 1979, makes a daily impact across Cook County with a network of 650 pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, mobile programs, children’s programs, older adult programs and innovative responses that address the root causes of hunger. Last year, the Food Depository distributed 66 million pounds of shelf-stable food, fresh produce, dairy products and meat, the equivalent of 150,000 meals every day.
“Feeding America is extremely grateful to the United Fresh Produce Association, their exhibitor donors, Freeman Company, and all food bank staff and volunteers for their efforts to rescue thousands of pounds of fresh produce from United Fresh 2014,” said Bob Aiken, CEO of Feeding America. “Fresh and nutritious produce is really prized by our food banks and those we serve, so we are really pleased with the great effort everyone has made to provide this donation to the Greater Chicago Food Depository.”
“United Fresh and exhibitors at the show are proud to support the Feeding America network of food banks,” said John Toner, United Fresh vice president of convention & industry relations. “Fresh produce is an important part of a healthy diet and the donation highlights how the industry is helping those in need each and every day.”
With a network of 200 member food banks across the country, Feeding America supplies more the 3 billion pounds of food and grocery products annually. In all, the nationwide Feeding America Network serves about 37 million people in need.