The hunger-fighting donation was made possible by a $2 million grant from the Darden Restaurants Foundation, and support from Penske Truck Leasing and Lineage Foundation. Each truck can transport up to 12,000 lbs. of food. They’ll become part of mobile food pantry programs at food banks with the greatest need, Darden reported.
“All of us at Darden have a shared purpose to nourish and delight everyone we serve, and our commitment to service extends beyond our restaurants into our communities,” Rick Cardenas, Darden president and CEO, said in a news release. “As a restaurant company, we are able to make a meaningful difference in the fight against hunger. Through our long-standing partnership with Feeding America and our legacy Harvest food donation program, we can help individuals and families gain access to nutritious food.”
The 10 food banks receiving a truck this year are:
- Community FoodBank of New Jersey (Hillside, New Jersey)
- Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona (Tucson, Arizona)
- El Pasoans Fighting Hunger (El Paso, Texas)
- Feeding South Florida (Pembroke Park, Florida)
- Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (Raleigh, North Carolina)
- Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, Inc. (Indianapolis, Indiana)
- Houston Food Bank (Houston, Texas)
- Los Angeles Regional Food Bank (Los Angeles, California)
- Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)
- Second Harvest of South Georgia, Inc. (Valdosta, Georgia)
Across the nation, food banks are experiencing increased demand driven by grocery prices that remain high and the end of several pandemic-era benefits such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) emergency allotments. Feeding America estimates that more than 34 million people in the United States face hunger, and communities of color continue to be impacted at a disproportionately higher rate.
Darden has partnered with Feeding America to address food insecurity for 13 years. Since January 2021, Darden and its partners have helped add 35 trucks, along with money for operating expenses, for 35 food banks in 18 states.
“In the face of persistently high grocery prices and the expiration of vital pandemic-era support, food banks are a lifeline for millions,” Feeding America CEO Claire Babineaux-Fontenot said. “We’re grateful to team up with Darden, Penske, and Lineage again to continue our work to close the hunger gap, and these trucks will expand our food banks’ ability to deliver food where it’s needed most.”