CHICAGO, Sept. 10, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Conagra Brands Foundation has announced the recipients of its annual "Nourish Our Community" grant program, awarding one-year grants to 22 nonprofits in 11 states, totaling $350,000. The grants underscore Conagra's involvement in Hunger Action Month – when people across the United States mobilize to take action on the issue of hunger – and will help create positive social impact in the communities where its employees live and work.
For more than 25 years, Conagra has invited employees to nominate nonprofit organizations in their local communities to be considered for grants in areas addressing domestic hunger and food insecurity, cooking skills, nutrition education, healthy and active lifestyles or urban agriculture. Conagra employees also play a part in the selection process with grants being awarded by a cross-functional committee of employees. Examples of this year's grant recipients include organizations distributing healthy food to children, seniors, veterans, and homeless populations, providing critical infrastructure upgrades in food pantries, and supporting nutrition education opportunities for underserved communities.
"Access to nutritious food is key to a healthy community. The Nourish Our Community grant program allows our employees to work alongside community-based nonprofits to understand critical needs related to hunger and take direct action to improve the situation," said Robert Rizzo, Senior Director, Conagra Brands Foundation. "Our program responds to the unique challenges that exist in every community by raising awareness and building strong partnerships locally to support those most in need."
More information about each of the grant recipients can be found below:
CENTRAL WISCONSIN COMMUNITY ACTION COUNCIL (WISCONSIN)
Project: Beaver Dam Community Food Pantry
This grant will assist with the purchase of nutritious food for the Beaver Dam Community Food Pantry, which serves hungry and food insecure residents of Dodge County. Each household that visits the pantry receives approximately 50 pounds of food – over 110,652 total pounds were distributed in 2019 – and the Pantry has pledged to never let anyone leave without food.
CHILDREN IN NEED (MARYLAND)
Project: Client Monthly Visits
Children in Need supplies children with packages of essential items that address the child's basic needs and help ensure children have positive social and emotional experiences while attending school. This "Nourish Our Community" grant will enable the organization to include shelf stable, child-friendly food items in packages that are provided to the students.
CITY SPROUTS (NEBRASKA)
Project: Geodesic Greenhouse Learning Center
The construction of a 530 square foot solar powered greenhouse will increase City Sprout's ability to provide year-round education centered on food, urban agriculture, sustainability, and nutrition. It will also provide on-site space to prepare seedlings for its six urban agriculture and community garden sites. Growing capacity is expected to increase by 20%, ultimately increasing donations of fresh produce to local pantries, its Free Farm Stand, and its pay-what-you-can Fair Deal Market.
COMMUNITY FOOD PANTRY (MISSOURI)
Project: Feeding Families of Saline
Community Food Pantry was established in 1989, growing from a small trailer in a parking lot and now serves over 22,000 Saline County residents, five days a week from its own facility. This "Nourish Our Community" grant will support significant maintenance and repair of key infrastructure to ensure the safety of the food it receives, stores, and distributes in the community.
CROSS CHRISTIANS REACHING OUT IN SOCIAL SERVICE (MINNESOTA)
Project: CROSS Services Food Programs
CROSS food programs served 1.8 million meals to more than 14,000 people last year. The "Nourish Our Community" grant will support the increase in food distribution into the greater Maple Grove community.
FEEDING OUR COMMUNITIES PARTNERS (MINNESOTA)
Project: Backpack Program & Monthly Boxes
Feeding Our Communities Partners distributes child friendly food to 1,200 students at 28 schools in its service area. This grant will support its food distribution efforts through various programs including its weekend Backpack Food Program, Power Packs to meet the needs of active middle school students, and summertime monthly food boxes delivered to the doorsteps of youth.
GIRLS INC OF WASHINGTON COUNTY (MARYLAND)
Project: Dine and Dash
The mission of Girls Inc is to inspire all girls to be strong, smart, and bold. It is committed to serving young women in the community with effective programming that provides access to healthy and nutritious meals and snacks. To ensure client safety and in following physical distancing requirements, it will use grant funds to implement a Dine and Dash dinner program providing approximately 100 to-go meals each day which are well-balanced and feature nutritious fruits and vegetables.
GOOD SAMARITAN FOOD PANTRY (INDIANA)
Project: Holiday Family Meals
The increase in unemployment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an 18% increase in neighbors seeking access to food through this vital community pantry. Funds from this grant will underwrite the food acquisition costs for the 2020 holiday meal boxes that will be distributed by Good Samaritan Food Pantry to approximately 165 families this November.
INTERCULTURAL SENIOR CENTER (NEBRASKA)
Project: Dietary- and Culturally-Appropriate Nutrition for Seniors
In January 2020 the Intercultural Senior Center successfully launched its first ever community food pantry to serve a diverse population of seniors including those in the Vietnamese, Somali, and Sudanese communities. After only two months of operations, it had to quickly pivot away from an in-person distribution model and launch a delivery program to increase physical distancing and protect this vulnerable population. This grant will underwrite the purchase and distribution of fresh fruit and vegetables this winter.
MACOMB CHARITABLE FOUNDATION (MICHIGAN)
Project: One Child Food Project
Macomb Charitable Foundation focuses on the needs and well-being of children; needs that are significant, given that there are 1,500 registered homeless children in Macomb County and less than 200 shelter beds. Funding from this grant will support food gift cards that are distributed to some of the children identified as most in need over the winter holiday season.
MARIE WILKINSON FOOD PANTRY (ILLINOIS)
Project: Food Focus for Infants and Seniors
This "Nourish Our Community" grant focuses on meeting the nutritional needs of infants and seniors. Through the Pantry's Infant Care Program, this grant will ensure baby food and formula are readily available for its clients as these often are items not typically available at food pantries. Additionally, it will secure a supply of nutritionally dense meal supplements and lactose-free dairy so its two pantries can better serve the senior citizens who reside in Kane, Kendall, and DuPage Counties.
MATT TALBOT KITCHEN & OUTREACH (NEBRASKA)
Project: Twice-Daily Grab and Go Meals
The mission of Matt Talbot is to support Lincoln's working poor and unsheltered homeless populations through outreach, education, advocacy, emergency shelter, and food. "Nourish Our Community" grant funds will support this nonprofit as it pivots away from congregate meals and moves forward with grab and go meals. This significant change in its program model will decrease groups gathering during the pandemic while continuing to serve the nutritional needs of their clients.
New Visions Homeless Services (IOWA)
Project: Meals for Veterans
New Visions' Omaha campus provides transitional and permanent supportive housing to formerly homeless Veterans residing in its two housing programs. Its food program provides residents with three balanced meals each day free of charge, in addition to case management and other supportive services.
NOURISH MEALS ON WHEELS (COLORADO)
Project: Meals on Wheels
Nourish Meals on Wheels prepares and delivers 500 hot meals each weekday to homebound seniors while also nurturing their social and emotional needs through meaningful personal interaction and wellness checks. This grant will support the production and delivery of approximately 4,000 meals per month for seniors who do not have the means to contribute to the costs of these meals.
OPEN ARMS OF MINNESOTA (MINNESOTA)
Project: Medically Tailored Meal Distribution
This grant will support made-from-scratch meals for current and new clients impacted by life-threatening illnesses including cancer, HIV/AIDS, Multiple Sclerosis, Congestive Heart Failure, and ALS. Volunteers deliver an assortment of 12 meals once per week to each client, all of which are tailored to the unique needs of the clients and are prepared by a team of registered dietitians and professional chefs. Additional support is provided via a nutrition assessment and ongoing counseling to improve health outcomes.
PEPIN COUNTY FOOD PANTRY (WISCONSIN)
Project: Walk-In Freezer
Pepin County Food Pantry, dba Durand Area Food Pantry, has been serving the needs of the community for approximately 40 years. Through significant community support it has continued to expand to meet the increased needs of the community. This grant, combined with significant funds already secured from the community, will fund the purchase of a walk-in freezer. The new freezer will increase the organization's ability to accept larger quantities of food donations and safely store and distribute the food.
POSITIVE ALTERNATIVES (WISCONSIN)
Project: Increase Nutrition through Local Food
Positive Alternatives operates five group homes for youth and this grant will directly support its efforts to improve the quality and amount of nutritious food it provides to its young residents. Through a comprehensive and conscientious approach, it will establish raised garden beds to grow vegetables, plant apple trees, and purchase food directly from its local farms and food co-op. These efforts will integrate a nutrition focus throughout its operations and have a long-term meaningful impact on the nutritional quality of food it serves.
RISE UP (ARKANSAS)
Project: Fighting Hunger in Northwest Arkansas
Rise Up provides 25,000 meals each year to children and their families through weekend and summer food packages. Since the organization's founding just a few years ago, it has provided over 100,000 meals to children experiencing food insecurity in Northwest Arkansas.
SAVING GRACE PERISHABLE FOOD RESCUE (NEBRASKA)
Project: Capacity Building
Saving Grace Perishable Food Rescue rescued and distributed more than 1 million pounds of food last year to local hunger relief agencies that feed low-income men, women, and children in metropolitan Omaha. Conagra's grant will support its continued efforts to rescue meats, produce, dairy, and prepared meals from local restaurants, grocery stores, caterers, and other food purveyors. Diverting this nutritious fresh food from the dumpster and getting it into the hands of people facing food insecurity requires food safety knowledge and logistical efficiency, two areas where Saving Grace clearly excels.
SOS CHILDREN'S VILLAGES ILLINOIS (ILLINOIS)
Project: Chicago Village Green
The SOS Children's Villages in Illinois each have large fruit and vegetable gardens which introduce foster children and their caretakers to the joys of gardening and healthy eating. "Nourish Our Community" grant funds will support the garden located in Chicago's Auburn Gresham community and allow it to provide free fruit and vegetables that are harvested to approximately 500 people who live near the garden.
STEPPING STONES OF DUNN COUNTY (WISCONSIN)
Project: Food Pantry Support
Multifaceted Stepping Stones operates a food pantry, shelters, and a Community Connections program to serve Dunn County residents living at or below the poverty level. Since last year, it has experienced a 35% increase in new households accessing its services. Grant support will ensure the pantry can continue to serve families, providing them with shelf-stable items as well as produce, bread, dairy, and protein.
YMCA OF HAGERSTOWN (MARYLAND)
Project: Healthy Lifestyles and Nutrition
The Hagerstown Y has been serving the community for over 90 years. The Conagra Brands Foundation will support its healthy living programs delivered to children and their families. Targeted and intentional programing will foster healthy lifestyle changes through a combination of fun physical activities, unique educational opportunities, and simple dietary changes that engage the child and their family and result in positive changes.
About Conagra Brands
Conagra Brands, Inc. (NYSE: CAG), headquartered in Chicago, is one of North America's leading branded food companies. Guided by an entrepreneurial spirit, Conagra Brands combines a rich heritage of making great food with a sharpened focus on innovation. The company's portfolio is evolving to satisfy people's changing food preferences. Conagra's iconic brands, such as Birds Eye®, Marie Callender's®, Banquet®, Healthy Choice®, Slim Jim®, Reddi-wip®, and Vlasic®, as well as emerging brands, including Angie's® BOOMCHICKAPOP®, Duke's®, Earth Balance®, Gardein®, and Frontera®, offer choices for every occasion. For more information, visit www.conagrabrands.com.
About Conagra Brands Foundation
Conagra Brands Foundation believes everyone has a right to healthy and nutritious food knowing that food insecurity exists in every U.S. county. The Foundation partners with exceptional national and local nonprofits with high-impact programs located in the communities where we live and work. By focusing our efforts within five areas: Direct Food Access, Cooking Skills, Nutrition Education, Healthy and Active Lifestyles and Urban Agriculture, we are able to be a leader in the fight against food insecurity in North America.
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