OMAHA, Neb.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Despite 20 years of work, ConAgra Foods (NYSE:CAG) and the ConAgra Foods Foundation believe much more progress must be made in the fight against child hunger in America, where more than one in five kids still might not know where the next meal is coming from.
“As a leading food company, it is our responsibility to use our knowledge and resources to help reduce child hunger and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans,” says Gary Rodkin, CEO of ConAgra Foods. “We are committed to making good food that everyone can access and enjoy, and I have challenged our company and the ConAgra Foods Foundation to take a deeper look at ways to approach child hunger so we can make a more profound impact and reach new goals by 2018.”
Since 1993, ConAgra Foods and the ConAgra Foods Foundation have donated food and invested in partnerships to solve this social issue, and are now leveraging that experience to be more effective. More specifically, they are re-prioritizing goals that will make advancements in the fight against child hunger, even when the solutions go beyond food.
The company and Foundation are dedicated to addressing the whole, albeit complex, issue by: 1) providing meals to kids when and where they need it most; 2) helping families supplement and stretch their resources to ensure they have access to and can prepare affordable, nutritious meals; and 3) investing in local and national programs, partnerships and sustainable solutions to address hunger.
In the spirit of continuous improvement, the company and Foundation reflected on their 20-year journey, asked new questions and took action, including:
- When and where to invest: Partnered with a third-party food security expert to scan the research to determine evidence-based solutions and the key levers to address food insecurity: SNAP, School Lunch Programs, emergency food assistance programs, lowering food prices and improving family financial management skills.
- Who to engage: Provide simple ways for families to get involved including the Child Hunger Ends Here code-entry program as well as establishing a variety of volunteer efforts that mobilize kids and families in local community projects, including donating food and more.
- What could be tested: Initiated “Food Smart Families” in partnership with the National 4-H counsel to empower kids and families with critical life-long skills on how to cook nutritious meals on a budget.
- How to make an impact: Continued as Feeding America’s leadership partner in the fight to end child hunger and renew commitment to Feeding America at a deeper level, feeding kids and building capacity to do more.
“All kids should be able to grow up with the food that they need to live strong and healthy lives,” says Kori Reed, vice president, ConAgra Foods Foundation and Cause. “That is why the Foundation not only provides food to kids struggling with hunger, but also invests in educating families and helping them address issues that lead to hunger. We believe to truly solve this issue we must do more than just provide food. That’s why we are often the first to fund new research in regard to hunger, why we pilot models that focus on root cause, and why we closely track results and metrics associated with our work.”
New $10 Million Commitment to Feeding America
The ConAgra Foods Foundation is Feeding America’s leadership partner in addressing child hunger. For more than 20 years, the partnership has focused on a shared a vision—one in which every child in the United States has access to the food they need to reach their potential in school and life.
“This gift of $10 million over three years is the largest donation ever made to Feeding America specifically to address child hunger,” says Bob Aiken, CEO of Feeding America. “This investment supports Feeding America’s mission-critical initiatives we have built together with ConAgra Foods Foundation, including Hunger Free Summer, Child Hunger Corps and the Child Hunger Venture Fund.” Aiken adds, “These impact-driven solutions seek to enhance member food banks’ ability to address the urgent needs of today as well as build organizational capacity to test and scale innovative approaches for tomorrow.”
ConAgra Foods and the Foundation have provided 370 million pounds of food and, with this donation, have invested more than $48 million in child hunger programs since 1993.
Goals for the 25-year milestone for fighting child hunger
ConAgra Foods and the ConAgra Foods Foundation have established goals for more reduction in child hunger by 2018, which will mark the Foundation’s 25th year of fighting child hunger. ConAgra Foods and the ConAgra Foods Foundation are committed to:
- Enabling two and a half million more kids to have access to nutritious meals
- Providing more than 20 million meals to kids when and where they need it most
- Closing the gap of needed meals by 25 percent in some of the company’s largest operating communities
- Amplifying the reach of non-profits and mobilize the public through enabling 500,000 hours of volunteer service toward reducing food insecurity
“These are aggressive goals,” says Rodkin. “And even when we reach these goals, we will not be satisfied, because there will still be hungry kids. But we believe through our ongoing commitment and through our partnership with organizations like Feeding America and many others who work alongside us, we can make a big difference in addressing child hunger.”
About ConAgra Foods
ConAgra Foods, Inc., (NYSE: CAG) is one of North America's largest packaged food companies with branded and private branded food found in 99 percent of America's households, as well as a strong commercial foods business serving restaurants and foodservice operations globally. Consumers can find recognized brands such as Banquet®, Chef Boyardee®, Egg Beaters®, Healthy Choice®, Hebrew National®, Hunt's®, Marie Callender's®, Orville Redenbacher's®, PAM®, Peter Pan®, Reddi-wip®, Slim Jim®, Snack Pack® and many other ConAgra Foods brands, along with food sold by ConAgra Foods under private brand labels, in grocery, convenience, mass merchandise, club and drug stores. Additionally, ConAgra Foods supplies frozen potato and sweet potato products as well as other vegetable, spice, bakery and grain products to commercial and foodservice customers. ConAgra Foods operates ReadySetEat.com, an interactive recipe website that provides consumers with easy dinner recipes and more. For more information, please visit us at www.conagrafoods.com.
About ConAgra Foods Foundation
The ConAgra Foods Foundation, through its Nourish Today, Flourish Tomorrow platform, is dedicated to raising awareness of the nearly 16 million children in America who are at risk of hunger and live in food insecure homes where they may not have enough food to live active, healthful lives. It aggressively pursues sustainable solutions in the fight against child hunger. And the Foundation is committed to building a community of people who are passionate about ensuring that all kids have access to the food and facts they need to eat nutritiously while living balanced lifestyles and succeeding in school and life. ConAgra Foods Foundation invests in national and local partnerships with high-impact, not-for-profit organizations, such as Feeding America and 4H that take an innovative approach to addressing needs in the core areas of hunger and nutrition education. For more information, please visit www.conagrafoods.com or www.facebook.com/conagrafoods. The ConAgra Foods Foundation is primarily funded by ConAgra Foods.
About Feeding America
Feeding America is the nationwide network of 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States. Together, we provide food to more than 46 million people through 60,000 food pantries and meal programs in communities across America. Feeding America also supports programs that improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate. Together we can solve hunger. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.