Citing the growing need for nutrition and health programs in Wichita, during the first full month of the company’s fiscal year that began June 1, the local Cargill Cares Council allocated nearly $87,750 to area charities, which is being matched by Cargill Inc. Combined, Cargill is distributing more than $175,000 to area nutrition and health programs ranging from the Kansas Food Bank warehouse ($122,500) and The Kansas Elks Training Center for the Handicapped ($25,000) to The Lord’s Diner ($14,829) and Holy Savior Catholic Academy ($13,200).
Included in the Kansas Food Bank total are allocations dedicated for food that will be distributed by other organizations such as Bread of Life ($10,000), Catholic Charities ($15,000), Dear Neighbor Ministries ($10,000), Inter-Faith Ministries ($20,000) and Positive Directions ($7,500). The purchasing power of the Kansas Food Bank, and its affiliation with Feeding America, maximizes the amount of food it can secure for other organizations.
“There are a lot of people in need of food, which is fundamental for them to properly maintain their health,” said Matt Gardner, chairman of the Wichita Cargill Cares Council and a value creation development manager for the company’s beef business headquartered here. “Softness in the overall economy has placed an enormous burden on local charities, straining them to their limits and making it difficult for them to support the many deserving people in the Wichita area. We are pleased to be in a position where we can help Wichita organizations provide food, as well as health and nutrition education, to so many people in need.”
The Cargill Cares Council distributed more than $900,000 among scores of local community organizations in calendar 2011, with funds coming from the company’s Wichita-based businesses and corporate matches. The Council is comprised of 20 voting members from Cargill’s businesses in Wichita, who volunteer to evaluate the many requests for funding support received throughout the year.
“There are core programs we fund annually, as well as one-time projects or programs, yet we always strive to maximize the amount we provide to the community through corporate matches from our parent company,” explains Gardner. “We focus on three primary areas, including nutrition and health, education and the environment. Our overarching goal is to make the Wichita area a better place to live. We take this responsibility seriously and are pleased we can make a positive difference in the lives of so many of our fellow Wichita area residents.”