Feed the hungry during the holidays -- KC Corporate Community Provides Two Million Meals

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When you give food to a hungry family, child or senior this holiday season, you are providing much more than a meal. You are giving them food and hope and helping to build a stronger, healthier community for everyone.
“Healthy food builds strong families, helps children arrive in the classroom ready to learn and makes it possible for seniors to maintain their health and their independence,” said Karen Haren, president and CEO of Harvesters—The Community Food Network. “Food is the key to a healthy community, and it takes everyone working together to ensure no one misses a meal.” As it kicked off the holiday season, Harvesters recognized the 16 local corporations that make up the Corporate Volunteer Council, for holding food drives during 2012 that raised two million meals to feed the hungry people in our community. “Harvesters is feeding one in eight people in our community, and we could not do that without the dedicated support of individuals and our corporate partners,” said Haren. “Some of these corporations have supported Harvesters for decades, while others are holding food drives to feed the hungry for the first time. “We are grateful for their hard work and celebrate their commitment to building a stronger community by providing food and hope to literally millions of children, families and seniors in need.” Members of the Corporate Volunteer Council that held food drives for Harvesters in the last year are: American Century, Black & Veatch, Block Real Estate, Cassidy Turley, Farmland Foods, Hallmark, HNTB, Honeywell, H&R Block, John Deere, KCP&L, The Kansas City Star, KPMG, Sprint, UMB and the United Way of Greater Kansas City.

As the holidays approach, an estimated 375,000 people in Harvesters’ service area are in danger of missing a meal. One in five children in our community may go to be hungry tonight. Thanks to support from individuals, foundations and corporations in the community, Harvesters is feeding as many as 66,000 people a week. Nearly half are children and seniors and 40 percent of those receiving food from Harvesters’ network live in a working household. How you can give a meal…and more than a meal during the holidays: Give money. With every $1 donated, Harvesters can provide five meals. ?Donate at your local grocery store through Check-Out Hunger. Harvesters’ Check-Out Hunger program runs through January 6, 2013, in 140 grocery stores. Since its inception in 1992, Check-Out Hunger has raised more than $3.7 million to feed the hungry through $1, $5, $10 and $20 donations and provided 20 million meals.

?Make an online donation. Harvesters feeds up to 66,000 people every week, but we need the community’s help. Make an online donation on Harvesters’ secure Web site at www.harvesters.org. Donations also may be made in honor of family and friends as holiday gifts.

?Purchase Forks & Corks tickets at a discount. Tickets for Harvesters’ 2013 Forks & Corks food and wine tasting event on April 25, 2013, are available at the discounted price of $80 through Dec. 31.

Give food. Food drives are an important source of nutritious food for those in need. ?Donate non-perishable food at nearly all area grocery stores through January 6, 2013. The most-needed items are canned fruits and vegetables, soups, peanut butter, boxed meals and cereal. Harvesters also has additional food drop-off locations at businesses and organizations across the metro area. Locations can be found by visiting www.harvesters.org and clicking on “Give Food.”

?Help provide Holiday Fixin’s by donating the holiday foods that go with the turkey. Donate through the virtual food drive, or help your group or workplace hold a food drive and volunteer event to pack Holiday Boxes.

Give time. Harvesters relies on more than 5,800 volunteers a month to sort and repackage donated food.

?Volunteer at Harvesters. Harvesters needs volunteers on Tuesday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and on Friday and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to noon and 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. to sort and repackage food. Sign up online at www.harvesters.org to bring your class, co-workers or family.

?Volunteer to “Give Lunch” to the hungry. Visit www.harvesters.org to sign up your workplace to donate food and pack lunches for hungry people.

About Harvesters—The Community Food Network Harvesters is this area’s only food bank and was Feeding America’s 2011 Food Bank of the Year. Serving a 26-county area of northwestern Missouri and northeastern Kansas, Harvesters provides food and related household products to more than 620 not-for-profit agencies including emergency food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, children’s homes and others. Agencies in Harvesters’ network provide food assistance to as many as 66,000 different people each week. Harvesters, which was founded in 1979, is a certified member of Feeding America, a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks, serving all 50 states. For more information, visit www.harvesters.org.

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