Church Donates 1 Million Pounds of Food to Feeding America
Contributed By By Sarah Jane Weaver, Church News assistant editor
The Church, through its humanitarian arm Latter-day Saint Charities, has donated more than 1 million pounds of food this month to Feeding America, the largest nonprofit hunger-relief organization in the United States.
“The commitment from our supporting partners helps make Feeding America’s work possible and provides hungry Americans with food, hope, and dignity every day,” said Feeding America president and CEO Bob Aiken. “Thanks to the generosity of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this most recent donation will provide the equivalent of 625,000 much-needed meals.”
The Church’s donation includes canned goods such as fruit, vegetables, and beans. The food will be distributed to families in need at community pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters across the United States. The Utah Food Bank, a member of the Feeding America network, received 250,000 pounds of the food.
“This donation from the LDS Church could not have come at a better time for the Utah Food Bank,” said Utah Food Bank CEO Karen Sendelback. “The food will help fill a large need over the summer for our fellow Utahns who struggle to put food on the table each day. We are so very grateful.”
Feeding America, which is based in Chicago, Illinois, supports more than 200 food banks across the United States. The Church’s donation will be distributed this month to community food pantries and soup kitchens to help families in need. The organization will distribute the food based on three factors: the number of clients served by a network food bank, the level of poverty of its clients, and the food bank’s need for a particular food product on the list of donated items.
Last year, Feeding America provided 2.82 billion meals to 37 million people in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
Rick Foster, manager of LDS Humanitarian Services for North America, said with the donations the Church wants to send the message that feeding the poor is important. He invited local congregations to contribute not only food but also time to the shelters, food pantries, and soup kitchens in their communities.
Sharon Eubank, director of LDS Charities; Rick Foster, manager of LDS Humanitarian Services for North America; Bob Aiken, Feeding America president and CEO; and Susan Rather, manager of Evaluation and Training and LDS chief liaison to Feeding America. Photo courtesy of Feeding America.
“People often think they have to reach halfway around the world to make a difference,” he said. “The reality is that right here in our backyard people are hungry. We can do something to support those efforts here at home.”
The donation, he said, is part of the ongoing commitment of LDS Humanitarian Services to fight hunger. “This isn’t a one-time event. We are engaged at a national and international level trying to combat this challenge.”
A press release from Feeding America said the Church is the only faith-based organization to have achieved “Supporting Partner status” with the organization during the past fiscal year.
Sharon Eubank, director of Latter-day Saint Charities, said food bank support is one of the Church’s areas of emphasis in the United States. “As the Church makes this big donation we would like to encourage anyone, wherever they live, to support their local food bank,” she said.