GNP Company, a leading provider of premium branded and custom chicken products to retail (sold under the Gold’n Plump and Just BARE Chicken brands), deli and foodservice customers nationally, donated enough chicken to supply local food shelves with more than 2.8 million chicken meals in 2016. The more than 700,000 pounds of chicken donated, which translates to more than 350 tons of product, was given to food banks in local areas where the company has its Minnesota and Wisconsin operations. The company donates its chicken to local food shelves throughout the year. According to Second Harvest Heartland, proteins like chicken are among the most-needed food items.

Food donations are just one of the community priorities funded in 2016. Some of the others included: The St. Cloud YMCA Partners Campaign; the Arcadia Aquatic Center Shelter project in Arcadia, Wis.; and The Rock County Historical Society in Luverne, Minn.

Overall company donations in 2016 equaled more than $1 million dollars and maintained GNP Company’s status as a Minnesota Keystone Company, which recognizes companies for donating 5 percent of pre-tax profits to charitable causes. GNP Company has received this recognition for the past 30 years. “We feel strongest about supporting projects that benefit many versus few in the community,” said Steve Jurek, president of GNP Company. “We give back to improve the places where we live and work, which benefits our team members, family farm partners, and members of the greater community. And hunger relief has always been a major priority.”

In the last year, GNP Company received three hunger relief awards: “Hunger Hero” and “Partner in Transforming Hunger Relief” from Twin Cities-based Second Harvest Heartland foodbank; and the “Good Samaritan Award” from St. Cloud, Minn.-based Catholic Charities.

“In addition to food donations, GNP Company has played a role in helping more Minnesota farmers get food to those in need,” Jurek said. From 2009 to 2010, GNP Company represented Minnesota food processors on the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s “Feeding Minnesota Taskforce” (find final report here) and advocated for Minnesota’s “Farm to Foodshelf” grant in 2014. The grant, a $2 million appropriation funded by the Minnesota legislature, helped producers and processors offset the cost of harvest and package their donated fruits and vegetables that would otherwise go unharvested or be discarded. In 2016, an estimated 4.4 million pounds of produce were saved from being discarded, according to Second Harvest Heartland. “GNP Company believes ‘Farm to Foodshelf’ is an absolutely crucial program to ending hunger and we’re glad to support it,” Jurek said.