Employee-nominated grants drive community impact during Hunger Action Month
CHICAGO, Sept. 23, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Conagra Brands Foundation has announced the 2022 recipients of the "Nourish Our Community" grants, awarding one-year grants to 23 nonprofits across 12 states, totaling $350,000. In an effort to support Hunger Action Month – a time when people across the country come together to raise awareness and take action to impact the issue of food insecurity – Conagra's involvement will help to create positive social impact in the communities where its employees live and work.
For 30 years, Conagra employees have nominated nonprofit organizations in their local communities to be considered for community grants. Conagra employees also devote time to review and discuss the applications to determine the final slate of grant recipients. The Nourish Our Community program supports organizations doing incredible work to address the issues of domestic hunger and food insecurity, cooking skills, nutrition education, healthy and active lifestyles and urban agriculture.
"Since its inception, the Nourish Our Communities grant program has given our employees the opportunity to address the prevalent issue of food insecurity by partnering with nonprofits in their local communities," said Robert Rizzo, Senior Director, Conagra Brands Foundation. "Healthy communities are built through consistent access to nutritious food. With this program, we engage our colleagues throughout the organization to raise awareness of food insecurity on a national level, as well as building local partnerships in communities across the country through our investment of grants and employee volunteerism."
Hunger Action Month, a Feeding America initiative, aims to raise awareness for and take action against the hunger crisis in the United States. Conagra Brands Foundation's longstanding partnership with Feeding America includes a unique combination of efforts including: national research that increases the collective understanding of the issue of hunger and its impact on vulnerable populations and diverse communities; direct service that improve access to nutritious and culturally relevant food, capacity building efforts that increase front line hunger relief agencies efforts to better serve the community, and national awareness building campaigns that help to educate the public and its leaders about the issue of food insecurity in communities where Conagra operates. Conagra also provides significant product donations that are distributed to Feeding America's network of 200 food banks.
More information about each of the "Nourish Our Community" grant recipients can be found below:
ALPHA COMMUNITY CENTER (Ohio)
Funding from the Conagra Brands Foundation helps Alpha Community Center prepare essential meals and serve them to seniors, individuals with disabilities and individuals who are experiencing homelessness. This community meal service not only provides nutritious meals, but also some relief from the stress and worry associated with managing limited financial resources.
Nominated by Conagra Brands employee: Tina B. – Troy, OH
BACKPACK BLESSINGS (Georgia)
Project: Weekend Meals and Snacks
Support from Conagra underwrites the costs associated with filling backpacks with food and distributing them to elementary school children to take home during the weekends when they have limited access to food. BackPack Blessings currently delivers 600 food filled backpacks to children in Marietta Georgia every Friday while school is in session.
Nominated by Conagra Brands employee: Stacy R. – Atlanta, GA
BCMW COMMUNITY SERVICES (Illinois)
Project: Eat, Learn and Grow
Conagra Brands Foundation's grant will support a three-pronged effort to fight food insecurity. Two hundred families will be presented with food bundles, 40 school age children will learn about healthy snacks and raised garden beds will be constructed so that 50 families can be supplied with fresh produce.
Nominated by Conagra Brands employee: Traci H. – Centralia, IL
BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB OF DANE COUNTY (Wisconsin)
Project: Walworth County Food Security
Boys and Girls Club of Dane County inspires and empowers young people to reach their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring adults. The Conagra Brands Foundation funding assists the Boys and Girls Club that serves the Conagra community of Darien, WI in continuing its Family Meals to Go program, as well as their holiday meal distribution.
Nominated by Conagra Brands employee: Sergio R. – Darien, WI
CARE FOR FRIENDS (Illinois)
The Conagra Brands Foundation grant supports Care For Friends' efforts to provide food to unhoused young students and their families. Care For Friends will distribute Care-Packs filled with nutritious groceries to 430 families which includes 1,800 individuals identified by the Students in Temporary Living Situations Office of Chicago Public Schools.
Nominated by Conagra Brands employee: Bradley H. – Chicago, IL
CITY SPROUTS (Nebraska)
Project: Urban Food Production and Distribution
City Sprouts will produce more than 50,000 pounds of fresh, nutritious produce at its new, six-acre urban farm site in Omaha for individuals facing food insecurity. The Conagra Brands Foundation supports its efforts to cultivate, harvest, and distribute produce to local community members through Free Farms Stands and in collaboration with food distribution agencies in the Omaha area.
Nominated by Conagra Brands employee: Molly R. and Ami S. – Omaha, NE
CONSCIOUS ALLIANCE (Colorado)
Project: Feed Kids Before Landfills
Funding from the Conagra Brands Foundation helps Conscious Alliance deliver on its mission to rescue and redistribute healthy meals and snacks to children in the Denver-metro area. The organization reduces food waste by rescuing food and delivering it to children which significantly improves the physical and emotional health of children. It currently serves young people along the Front Range of Colorado, and the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, and plans to expand further to reach more children in need of food support.
Nominated by Conagra Brands employee: Patrick A. – Boulder, CO
FIGUEROA WU FAMILY FOUNDATION (Illinois)
Project: Pilsen Food Pantry – Delivery Efforts
Figueroa Wu Family Foundation provides community wellness, targets hunger, fights racial and economic inequities, and provides an inviting space for cultural engagement. Its biggest program, the Pilsen Food Pantry, supports local families with free emergency food, clothing, books, and physical therapy. This grant supports the home delivery program, which was launched to help those unable to travel for food.
Nominated by Conagra Brands employee: Sebastian B. – Chicago, IL
GROW JACKSON (Michigan)
Project: Community Gardening
Grow Jackson operates five gardens within the City of Jackson. Funding from the Conagra Brands Foundation will help expand its main garden by 50% allowing it to increase the amount of fresh, healthy food that is grown and distributed to its neighbors. It anticipates that this effort will increase its capacity by 5,000 lbs., increase the number of volunteers and build deeper connections and more authentic relationships within the community.
Nominated by Conagra Brands employee: Matthew S. – Quincy, IL
LIFE STYLES (Arkansas)
Project: Healthy Cooking and Meal Planning
Life Styles runs the Adult Development Food Program to help individuals with developmental disabilities improve kitchen skills and provides guidance on how to shop for groceries, maintain budgets and prepare healthier meals. Through this program, clients will increase their exhibited level of independence, improve their overall health and will know how to prepare complex meals independently.
Nominated by Conagra Brands employee: Kathia R. – Fayetteville, AR
LINCOLN COMMUNITY CENTER (Ohio)
Project: Afterschool Snacks
The Lincoln Community Center serves students every day after school, providing a safe space to gather, study and to obtain tutoring and homework help. Support from the Conagra Brands Foundation will ensure that youth have opportunities for exercise and access to healthy, nutritious snacks.
Nominated by Conagra Brands employee: Robert R. – Troy, OH
MARIE WILKINSON FOOD PANTRY (Illinois)
Project: Older Adult Hunger Relief Nutrition and Healthy U Education
This Nourish Our Community grant supports front-line hunger relief efforts provided through its two community food pantries serving Kane, Kendall, DuPage, Will, and DeKalb Counties. A portion of the grant will help expand pantry capacity with the purchase of a power lift truck that will be used to assist with pallets of produce and food for senior citizens. Remaining funds will be used to purchase fresh produce and protein.
Nominated by Conagra Brands employee: Brenda J. – Chicago, IL
MILLION MEAL MOVEMENT (Indiana)
Project: Empowering Youth to Reduce Food Insecurity and Improve Food Access
Million Meal Movement is aimed at feeding people who are hungry while also teaching young people about the importance of volunteerism. Grant funds will finance the packing of 28,000 servings of Macaroni and Cheese dinners. These meals will be packed in local Indiana schools and delivered to food banks across the state.
Nominated by Conagra Brands employee: Oskarina F. – Indianapolis, IN
New Visions Homeless Services (Iowa)
Project: MOHMS Place Meals
New Visions Homeless Services provides transitional and permanent supportive housing to formerly homeless veterans residing in its two housing programs. Its food program provides 109,000 meals annually via a full-service kitchen that accommodates 250 people. Residents are provided three balanced meals each day free of charge, in addition to case management and other supportive services.
Nominated by Conagra Brands employee: Stewart S. – Omaha, NE
NOURISH MEALS ON WHEELS (Colorado)
Project: Nutritious Meal Delivery
Last year, Nourish Meals on Wheels prepared and delivered 140,000 hot meals to homebound seniors while also nurturing their social and emotional needs through meaningful personal interaction and wellness checks. This grant supports the production and delivery of approximately 8,000 meals per month for seniors who do not have the means to contribute to the costs of these meals.
Nominated by Conagra Brands employee: Susan P. – Denver, CO
RISE UP (Arkansas)
Project: Feeding Children
Rise Up provides 25,000 meals each year to children and their families through weekend and summer food packages. The entire grant provided by the Conagra Brands Foundation will be used to purchase food and supplies to feed children experiencing food insecurity in Northwest Arkansas.
Nominated by Conagra Brands employee: Matthew P. – Rogers, AR
River Valley Food 4 Kids (Arkansas)
Project: Fresh Food 4 Kids
Fresh Food 4 Kids sends kids home with back packs to ensure they have access to nutritious food during winter and spring break. The Nourish Our Community grant supports the distribution of fresh produce, dairy, meat, and other perishable food to 1,200 local children experiencing food insecurity.
Nominated by Conagra Brands employee: Cassy P. – Russellville, AR
RUSS BUS (Arkansas)
Project: Food Room, Food Access
Russ Bus provides services that support individuals who are experiencing homelessness. It currently operates nine homeless camps and four transitional living apartments. Funding from the Conagra Brands Foundation supports the distribution of weekly food boxes as well as an emergency supply of food for distribution to individuals who simply drop in.
Nominated by Conagra Brands employee: Jim C.– Russellville, AR
SENIOR CENTER OF MACON (Missouri)
Project: Meals for Macon
The Senior Center of Macon and its Meals on Wheels program deliver approximately 25,000 nutritionally balanced meals a month to homebound clients; the Center also provides onsite exercise classes and social activities. Funds will help purchase food for the meal distributions.
Nominated by Conagra Brands employee: Donna T. – Macon, MO
STEPPING STONES OF DUNN COUNTY (Wisconsin)
Project: Food Pantry
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. Grant support will ensure the pantry can continue to serve approximately 1,500 individuals each month, providing them with shelf-stable items as well as produce, bread, dairy, and protein.
Nominated by Conagra Brands employee: Jeff S. – Menomonie, WI
TEEN CENTER (Nebraska)
Project: After School Cooking Program
The Teen Center has been providing intentional afterschool and summertime programming to youth in Omaha for 15 years. Through numerous partnerships, it provides youth with essential programs and case managers to help students succeed. The grant from the Conagra Brands Foundation will support its efforts to provide youth with exposure to cooking classes and the preparation of healthy meals and snacks.
Nominated by Conagra Brands employee: Kristin R. – Omaha, NE
WEST SEATTLE FOOD BANK (Washington)
Project: Food Purchase
West Seattle Food Bank distributed more than two million pounds of food annual and serves families, seniors and children who live in five underserved communities in West Seattle. According to 2020 census data, 9.3% of the residents in this service area live below the federal poverty line, with more than 1 in 4 making less than $50,000 per year. Conagra Brands Foundation will support its grocery home delivery services, making it easier for residents to access food.
Nominated by Conagra Brands employee: James J. – Kent, WA
YOU FEED THEM MISSIONAL FOOD PANTRY (Indiana)
Project: School Food Pantry
This year, the You Feed Them Missional Food Pantry has served over 2,400 individuals with more than 5,600 bags of groceries. The Pantry currently operates for distribution on a monthly basis and responds to emergency requests. The Conagra Brands Foundation will support You Feed Them Missional Food Pantry, by helping it purchase essential protein and nonperishable food for distribution to people in the community.
Nominated by Conagra Brands employee: Craig A. – Indianapolis, IN
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..
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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