U.S. Foodservice, one of America's leading foodservice distributors, donated 25,000 pounds of food to Chicago-area Feeding America member food banks. The donation is valued at approximately $50,000.00. The food will be split equally between the Norther Illinois Food Bank, located in St. Charles, and the Greater Chicago Food Depository, located in Chicago.
The donation marks the end of the company's second annual "Winning Weigh Challenge" in which 2,600 employees and spouses at more than 60 U.S. facilities lost nearly 25,000 pounds combined between February 21 and April 15. The eight-week health education program covered topics including portion control, nutrition label interpretation, goal setting, benefits of exercise, the truth about fad diets, and preparing balanced meals. To encourage employee participation, U.S. Foodservice partnered with Feeding America and committed to matching the pounds lost by employees in food donations.
"U.S. Foodservice employees demonstrated their commitment to both personal health and philanthropy by participating in the Winning Weigh Challenge," said Dave Esler, chief human resources officer, U.S. Foodservice.
The 25,000 pounds of food donated to Feeding America will provide 19,000 meals to individuals experiencing hunger or at risk of hunger.
Cook County, which is served by the Greater Chicago Food Depository, has a food insecurity rate of 16.1 percent, meaning 845,910 of residents lack adequate food access or have limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods.
"This donation will put nutritious food on the table for our neighbors in need in Cook County," says Kate Maehr, executive director and CEO of the Greater Chicago Food Depository. "We are so thankful to U.S. Foodservice for its generosity during these difficult times."
The Northern Illinois Food Bank, which serves the Will, McHenry, Lake, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, DuPage, Winnebago, Boone, DeKalb, Kendall, Ogle, and Stephenson counties, has a 12.5 percent food insecurity rate, meaning 489,030 residents experience food insecurity.
"Hunger in Illinois is great and growing," says Peter Schaefer, president and CEO, Northern Illinois Food Bank. "The protein-rich foods donated by U.S. Foodservice will provide vital nutrition to community members in need."
As a national Mission Partner of Feeding America, U.S. Foodservice has donated more than 20 million pounds of food to food banks since 2007.