Meat and Poultry Industry News

Hillshire Brands Foundation Awards $700,000 in grants to help fight hunger, improve healthy weight & nutrition education

July 9, 2014
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The Hillshire Brands Foundation announced that it awarded more than $700,000 in grants to over 30 organizations including a multi-year commitment of $300,000 to Feeding America, the nation's largest domestic hunger-relief charity.

Organizations receiving grants included Feeding America-affiliated food banks and nonprofits that operate programs to help improve children's health by focusing on healthy weight and nutrition education. A complete list of the organizations receiving grants can be found here on the foundation's website.

"The foundation's commitment to our hungry neighbors remains steadfast," said Mary Oleksiuk, president of the Hillshire Brands Foundation. "Many of our grantees work to deliver meals, garner more food, and improve access to food for those in need."

Edible food waste in the U.S. is increasing. The loss occurs at every stage of the food creation and distribution process. Much of the waste is due to the perishable nature of fresh produce, meats, breads, and dairy products.

"We support Feeding America's Retail Store Donation program because the organization's network has the expertise to get perishable food to the hungry before it spoils," added Oleksiuk. "This program will continue to help our community food banks salvage more food."

The grant comes at a critical time. According to the USDA, about 49 million people - which includes 16 million children - are struggling with hunger in this country. Feeding America, and its network of food banks, helps to provide food for 37 million people a year.

"With over 133 billion pounds of food wasted in the U.S. each year, recovering products that can provide much needed nutrients for our clients is essential," said Leah Ray, Senior Vice President of Development for Feeding America. "Partnerships with organizations like the Hillshire Brands Foundation make it possible to help feed the millions of Americans struggling with food insecurity today."

The foundation also made several grants to organizations that provide healthy weight and nutrition education to children and adults. The programs provide combinations of fitness, health, and nutrition activities to help deepen the understanding and interconnectedness of healthy lifestyles.

The foundation accepts letters of inquiry year round via its website,, and reviews grants during two grant periods, one in the fall and one in the spring. Prospective grantees are invited to take the foundation's eligibility quiz to see if a letter of inquiry should be submitted.

The Hillshire Brands Foundation is the philanthropic arm of The Hillshire Brands Company and is operated as a separate entity with its own board of directors. Founded in 1981 (as the Sara Lee Foundation) to formalize the company's dedication to community service, it remains committed to strengthening and improving communities where Hillshire Brands has a presence. The foundation provides strategic support to nonprofit organizations focused on food-related programs with special emphasis on hunger, healthy weight and nutrition education.

Source: The Hillshire Brands Foundation

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