Feeding America, the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief organization, has announced that television personality and bestselling author, Rachael Ray, has donated $160,000 to support the National Produce Program and the BackPack Program through her Yum-o! organization, which is a long-standing supporter of Feeding America and hunger-relief.
The donation will support Feeding America’s National Produce Program, a nationwide initiative to increase the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables distributed to the 37 million people in the United States served by Feeding America network food banks and partner agencies. Last year alone, the National Produce Program secured more than 120 million pounds of fresh produce on behalf of food banks.
“The donation from Yum-o! to the National Produce Program will help aid our food banks in the weekly distribution of more than eight million pounds of fresh produce to children and families facing hunger,” said Bob Aiken, CEO of Feeding America. “We are especially grateful to Yum-o! for this donation because oftentimes food banks are the only source of fresh fruits and vegetables for people struggling to put food on the table.”
Yum-o!’s donation will also support the BackPack Program at food banks across the country. Feeding America has granted five $10,000 donations to the following food banks:
• Lowcountry Food Bank, Charleston, SC
• Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore, Norfolk, VA
• Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest Pennsylvania, Erie, PA
• Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, Indianapolis, IN
• All Faiths Food Bank, Sarasota, FL
Through the BackPack Program, low-income children receive bags filled with shelf-stable, nutritious food to take home for the weekends and school vacations. Containing wholesome, easy-to-prepare meals, the bag is provided to eligible children free of charge and is distributed at the child’s school throughout the school year. The BackPack Program provides food and nourishment to nearly 230,000 children every year.
“More than one in five children in the United States struggles with hunger, a reality that inspired my Yum-o! organization to focus on funding projects and charities that feed hungry children,” said Rachael Ray, founder of Yum-o!. “By supporting Feeding America’s National Produce Program and the BackPack Program at local food banks, Yum-o! can help ensure children facing food insecurity are receiving nutritious and wholesome food.”