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Grant to help Gleaners distribute more perishables

January 5, 2011

Gleaners Food Bank plans to buy a refrigerated truck to supply more fresh produce, dairy and meat to central Indiana pantries, thanks to a $50,000 grant from Kraft Foods.

Kraft Senior Director Sean Marks and Kroger Central Division President Bob Moeder were scheduled to visit the Waldemere Avenue food bank Wednesday morning to present the check. Kroger’s central division applied for the grant on Gleaners’ behalf. It was one of six that Kraft made under its Huddle to Fight Hunger program.

Gleaners is the main supplier to food pantries in 21 counties, but most of the millions of pounds of food Gleaners distributes is boxed or canned. Through a shelf-rescue program with Kroger, Gleaners has increased the portion of produce and other perishables. In 2009, Gleaners provided 2.4 million pounds of produce, which was double the prior year's amount.

By adding a refrigerated truck, Gleaners should be able to pick up more perishables on short notice.

“For far too long food banks, food rescue organizations and local food pantries have operated with the food that people choose to donate, rather than being able to provide enough healthy, nutritious, balanced meals,” Moeder said in a prepared statement.  “Just because a family is temporarily unable to purchase their meals in retail food stores, that should not mean they have to accept a lower quality standard or inadequate nutritional value.”

Cincinnati-based Kroger said its central division donated 1.4 million pounds of meat, dairy and bakery foods to 22 different organizations in 2009 and expected to exceed that amount in 2010. The central division was the first to have all its stores donating perishables. The program is now offered throughout the Kroger chain, as well as by other retailers that work with food banks.

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