Cargill is continuing its legacy and commitment to fighting food insecurity through a new $4.9 million donation to the Feeding America network of member food banks. The company’s donation comes at a moment when the need for food assistance remains high from continued pandemic and economic impacts.
A key component of Cargill’s latest donation will include $1.9 million in support of increasing the supply of nutritious protein throughout the charitable food system. Protein, including chicken, beef, pork, and even some plant-based foods, are the most requested items for people facing hunger. Yet, many local food banks lack proper infrastructure to refrigerate and repackage donated bulk proteins in a safe way, significantly reducing their ability to supply protein to the communities they serve. The result of this far-reaching demand paired with a lack of supply is a substantial gap in the amount of protein being distributed versus what is needed.
One way to help combat this ‘protein gap’ is through the creation and/or optimization of protein pack rooms that provide proper refrigeration and storage for proteins, in addition to equipment allowing food bank workers and volunteers to safely repackage bulk proteins into individual portions for recipients. A 30’ x 40’ pack room has the potential to prepare 300,000 pounds of bulk protein per year, which helps local food banks distribute additional protein to people facing hunger.
“More than 38 million people in America face hunger. As food and transportation costs continue to rise across the country, protein remains a high-need food item and food banks are feeling that demand,” said Erika Thiem, Feeding America’s chief supply chain officer. “Feeding America is grateful for the generous contribution from Cargill and for NAMI’s support through their Protein PACT as we strive to close the protein gap and provide neighbors with the nutrition needed to thrive now and into the future.”
Cargill’s allocated funding for protein access will be made in support of the North American Meat Institute (NAMI)’s Protein PACT for the People, Animals and Climate of Tomorrow (PACT), which encompasses NAMI’s sustainability strategy and brings together a coalition of partners across animal agriculture committed to accelerating achievement of global development goals including ending hunger. The funding will be used to support the sustainment of protein pack rooms at local food banks and will also enable a set of innovative and complementary projects that aim to reduce the protein gap for vulnerable communities across the country.
“Filling the ‘protein gap’ and ensuring families in need have access to enough nutrient-dense meat is essential to ending hunger in the United States,” said Meat Institute president and CEO Julie Anna Potts. “Food security is key to NAMI’s Protein PACT vision for 2030, and Cargill’s contribution demonstrates the considerable achievements underway.”
“Cargill has proudly supported Feeding America for more than three decades, and their efforts to combat hunger across our nation.” said Tom Windish, president of Cargill’s beef and turkey business in North America. “We’re excited to work together with industry partners like NAMI to ensure that the Feeding America network of food banks have access to more protein, a critical source of nutrition for the nation’s most food insecure.”
The remainder of Cargill’s latest $4.9 million donation will go towards grants for food banks within Cargill markets, with a focus on rural communities and/or communities of color with high food insecurity rates. The donation will also support continued investment in Cargill’s legacy food safety program and funding for disaster relief programs.
Over the past 35 years, Cargill has donated more than $28 million to Feeding America and over ten member food banks throughout the United States. Most recently, the company has donated $600,000 towards the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank’s new facility, $275,000 in support of Harvesters–The Community Food Network,and $1,000,000 to the Second Harvest Heartland in Minnesota. The donation to Second Harvest Heartland will be directed towards childhood hunger initiatives and programs like the Minnesota Central Kitchen, a community meals program that provides nutritious, prepared meals to vulnerable populations.
In 2020 alone, Cargill contributed more than $30 million to reducing global hunger and improving nutrition through diverse partnerships such as CARE, Heifer International, the World Food Program USA, Save the Children and Feeding America.
In addition to its work with U.S. food banks, Cargill has also donated more than $500,000 to hunger relief organizations in Canada such as Food Banks Canada and Second Harvest Canada. The company is also an active supporter of Means Database, an online platform that connects supermarkets, restaurants and other stakeholders with excess food inventory to emergency food providers and those in need.