Natural and organic meat company Applegate kicked off its partnership with hunger relief and youth empowerment organization Conscious Alliance, with an inaugural donation of 5,000 packages of natural breakfast sausage delivered to school children on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota on Oct. 18.
The frozen Applegate Naturals Peppered Turkey Breakfast Sausage will provide more than 7,000 meals for kids this winter. When asked about the number one thing her students are in need of most, Principal Alicia Stolley of Wolf Creek School on Pine Ridge has a two-word answer, but one without a simple solution given the physical and economic isolation of the reservation: nutritious meat.
As an independent subsidiary of Hormel Foods, Applegate is joining its parent company Hormel Foods and its sister company Justin’s, to provide much-needed nutritious protein for Pine Ridge children as they enter the cold winter months – and weekend after weekend is often filled with hunger pangs and no food for relief. Feeding America has identified the weekend as a time that children are most at risk for missing meals or not receiving meals that are rich in vitamins and protein.
“When Justin Gold, the founder of Justin’s, told us about his company’s partnership with Conscious Alliance, we knew right away we wanted to be part of it,” said Nicole Glenn, vice president of marketing at Applegate. “Applegate is in a unique position to make a real difference with one of the biggest problems in food insecurity – protein – and we’re so honored to be able to help.”
The 13 pallets of product were loaded onto a semi-truck on Monday to make the journey to Pine Ridge, where they will be distributed on Thursday by Conscious Alliance staff to students at six different schools. Food insecurity is a major problem on the Pine Ridge Reservation, which has the lowest per capita income in the country and only a single grocery store in a geographic area the size of Connecticut. The infrastructure provided by Conscious Alliance in tandem with donations from its brand partners allows for large-scale food deliveries to this food desert with third-world living conditions inside the United States.
Although 100 percent of this Applegate donation will go to schools on Pine Ridge, Conscious Alliance and its partners continue to work with a number of other schools – on reservations, in the nonprofit’s headquarter city of Boulder, Colo. and nearby Denver, and nationwide – to provide much-needed nutritious food for children. Between January and September of 2018, Conscious Alliance distributed over 363,000 meals through schools nationwide to children dealing with food insecurity at home.
By delivering food to students through their elementary, middle and high schools, Conscious Alliance is not only able to help feed the kids, but foster a sense of community between parents and schools.
“When we are able to send food home with our students over the weekend, we have parents coming back to us and thanking us for supporting them and their children,” said Melody Bohlender, Principal at Batesland School on Pine Ridge Reservation. “Though the food is coming to us through Conscious Alliance, the parents see direct support from our school, which helps us build a consistent and trusting relationship with our community.”
Partnering together for over a decade, Conscious Alliance and Justin’s have grown their relationship and expanded it to include Justin’s parent company Hormel Foods, (including a recent volunteer trip to Pine Ridge Reservation), and other brands in the Hormel Foods portfolio, including Applegate.
In November, Conscious Alliance will host its annual holiday meal delivery to Pine Ridge and Lame Deer reservations, and Justin’s will join them for the 10th year in a row. Conscious Alliance will expand this year to provide meals and funds beyond these reservations to other schools and children in need across the country. For more information visit http://www.consciousalliance.org.