Land O’Lakes, Inc. today donated 37,800 pounds, of LAND O LAKES® Macaroni & Cheese to the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank. The product is packaged as 5-pound packets of fully cooked frozen whole grain pasta with packets of shelf-stable cheese sauce.
The donation is Land O’Lakes seventh donation in the second year of its First Run program. As part of the First Run program, Land O’Lakes has committed to donating truckloads of fresh product to several food banks quarterly to help alleviate hunger nationwide.
“As a national, farmer-owned cooperative, Land O’Lakes is committed to helping the growing number of people struggling to put food on their table,” said Land O’Lakes Foundation Executive Director Lydia Botham. “The ‘First Run’ program provides a unique opportunity for Land O’Lakes to provide a fresh, nutritious product to families who can enjoy it.”
The most recent data shows the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, through the emergency food programs it serves, is providing food for an estimated 250,000 different people annually, or 40,000 individuals in any given week. In the fiscal year ending June 2011, the Food Bank distributed 20 million pounds of food to approximately 600 food pantries serving 27 counties.
“This donation from Land O’Lakes is especially welcome at a time of year when children are not in school and are dependent on more food from home,” says Kendall Hanna, Executive Director, Central Pennsylvania Food Bank. “Approximately 34 percent of the household members served by the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank are children under 18 years old. During the school year, many of those children receive free breakfast and lunch through school programs. During the summer months, they sometimes go hungry without those meals. Macaroni and cheese is a favorite of children, and we’re pleased to be able to help families in our area provide kid-friendly, nutritious, filling meals to their children. Additionally, we do receive requests for vegetarian food options, and this donation helps to meet that need.”
According to Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-related charity, many more children are being served by its programs in summer months. Feeding America reports that 62 percent of the households its food bank members serve have children under the age of 18 who participate in school lunch programs. But only 14 percent of those households participate in summer feeding programs that provide free food when school is out.
The Pennsylvania donation is one of three First Run donations this quarter. Donations also are being made to Second Harvest Heartland in St. Paul, Minn., and the Cleveland Food Bank in Ohio.
The “First Run” program is part of Land O’Lakes Feeding Our Communities initiative, a program dedicated to helping alleviate hunger locally, nationally and internationally. For more information on any of these programs, visit the Land O’Lakes Foundation web page at www.landolakesinc.com.