CHICAGO, Sept. 16, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Conagra Brands, Inc. (CAG) has announced the recipients of its annual "Nourish Our Community" grant program. The grants are awarded as part of its longstanding commitment to support highly effective nonprofit organizations with a focus on addressing domestic hunger and food insecurity, cooking skills, nutrition education, healthy and active lifestyles or urban agriculture. It is especially meaningful to announce these grants as a part of the company's involvement in Hunger Action Month, reinforcing how the company, its employees and community based nonprofits can work together to meaningfully impact the issue of hunger.
Established in 1993, the program engages employees throughout the entire grant-making process including nominations, review and final grant award decisions. This year, employees submitted dozens of nominations for nonprofits that serve communities where Conagra offices, plants and other facilities are located. A panel of employees from various Conagra business units in locations across the United States came together to review the proposals and 23 have been awarded a one-year grant from the Conagra Brands Foundation, totaling a combined $350,000.
"The Nourish Our Community grant program is a fantastic way for employees to take action and participate in the grant-making process. It provides a direct avenue for them to give back to the communities where they live and work and leaves them with a deeper understanding of how hunger directly impacts the lives of people in the community," said Robert Rizzo, Sr. Director, Conagra Brands Foundation. "It's inspiring to see the high level of employee engagement and the resulting impact of these grants across the country."
More information about each of the grant recipients can be found below:
ALPHA COMMUNITY CENTER (OHIO)
The Nourish Our Community grant from the Conagra Brands Foundation will help the Alpha Community Center serve 15,000 healthy meals over the course of the year, providing low-income and at-risk families and seniors with a nutritious lunch every weekday.
BLUE VALLEY COMMUNITY ACTION PARTNERSHIP (NEBRASKA)
Project: Supportive Services for Veteran Families
Blue Valley Community Action is dedicated to alleviating poverty; this program is specifically aimed at serving veterans in need, and funding will support the purchase of healthy snacks and meals for the Community Resource and Referral Center pantry. This facility is adjacent to a veterans housing complex, which makes the program accessible to handicapped veterans and those without reliable transportation.
BOYS & GIRLS CLUB OF THE GREATER CHIPPEWA VALLEY – MENOMONIE CENTER (WI)
Project: Increasing Food Access Through Healthy Lifestyles
This funding will help the Boys & Girls Club in Menomonie provide a hearty late afternoon snack on weekdays, as well as a nutritious lunch on non-school days. The Club will also engage young members in discussions around healthy lifestyle topics such as how to eat well on a budget, cook nutritious meals, and practice mindfulness.
CAMP NEW HOPE (ILLINOIS)
Project: Healthy Respite Program
Camp New Hope serves over 300 individuals with special needs annually through year-round recreational activities. This grant will support the teaching of healthy habits through cooking, education, and games. In addition to food and other supplies, the grant will support the purchase of adaptive cookware, enabling all students to participate in preparing their own healthy snacks and meals.
Project: Fresh, Dried, and Canned Fruit
Caritas has been serving the Beloit area for 45 years with programs including a bi-monthly food pantry, Fresh Produce Saturdays, a diaper bank, and more. The grant will support the purchase of 1,000 pounds each month of fresh, dried, and canned fruit for distribution to residents experiencing hunger and food insecurity.
CENTER ON HALSTED (ILLINOIS)
Project: Silver Fork Culinary Workforce Development Program
Silver Fork is a 9-week vocational training program for LGBTQ individuals and allies, especially those who are under- or unemployed, aimed at reducing poverty within the LGBTQ community and increasing diversity and inclusion in the workforce. The curriculum introduces students to many facets of the food industry with topics including knife skills, sanitation, front-of-house, introductory understanding of food allergens and dietary preferences, and more.
CENTRAL WISCONSIN COMMUNITY ACTION COUNCIL (WISCONSIN)
Project: Beaver Dam Community Food Pantry
This grant will assist with the purchase of nutritious food for the Beaver Dam Community Food Pantry, which serves hungry and food insecure residents of Dodge County. Each household that visits the pantry receives approximately 50 pounds of food – over 189,000 total pounds were distributed in 2018 – and the Pantry has pledged to never let anyone leave without food.
GIRLS IN THE GAME (ILLINOIS)
Project: After School Program
Girls in the Game empowers young women to be gamechangers through sports, health, and leadership programs. The Chicago-based organization serves a racially and socioeconomically diverse cross-section of the city's population. Grant support for the After School Program will help participants achieve increased health knowledge, physical activity, self-esteem, use of non-violent conflict resolution, grit, and leadership skills.
GIRLS INC OF WASHINGTON COUNTY (MARYLAND)
Project: Kids Café
The mission of Girls Inc is to inspire all girls to be strong, smart, and bold. At the Kids Café, 175 girls will have access to healthy and nutritious snacks and dinner every day during the school year, and breakfast and lunch during the summer. Grant funds will ensure these meals are well-balanced and feature fruits and vegetables, helping to improve nutrition and health outcomes in program participants.
LOAVES & FISHES COMMUNITY SERVICES (ILLINOIS)
Project: Child Nutrition and Infant Care
Over 25,000 children in Loaves & Fishes' service area are food insecure. Through the grant-funded Child Nutrition Program, families are provided with additional supplemental food including milk, eggs, fruit and dairy. The Infant Care Program provides baby food and formula, which are costly items not typically available at food pantries; approximately 1,350 Infant Care packages will be distributed in the coming year.
MARILLAC ST. VINCENT FAMILY SERVICES (ILLINOIS)
Project: Eating for Life Workshop Series
Marillac St. Vincent's Eating for Life Workshop series aims to build skills and knowledge around nutrition, food preparation, budget-conscious shopping, and more. Over seven weeks, participants will meal plan, shop, and cook together. This pilot program is an extension of the organization's existing wrap-around services that support youth, families, and seniors through a variety of programs and education opportunities.
MATT TALBOT KITCHEN & OUTREACH (NEBRASKA)
Project: Hunger Relief and Nutrition Education
The mission of Matt Talbot is to support Lincoln's working poor and homeless populations through outreach, education, advocacy, and emergency shelter and food. Grant funds will help finance twice-daily congregate meals, food pantries, and cooking and gardening classes for children and adults. Such services will address immediate needs while also preparing clients for a healthier future.
MATTOON COMMUNITY FOOD CENTER (ILLINOIS)
Project: Food Storage (Walk-In Freezer)
Over 200 people pitch in annually to support the all-volunteer Mattoon Community Food Center and its work serving more than 21,500 people. Funding will allow the Center to purchase a new 12x16 walk-in freezer and refurbish the old freezer into a walk-in cooler, expanding its capacity to safely store meat and other frozen foods from the Eastern Illinois Food Bank for distribution to clients.
METRO CARING (COLORADO)
Project: Food is the Frame
Metro Caring's bilingual programs include food distribution, recipe demonstrations, cooking and nutrition classes, health screenings, cultural cooking clubs and more. In 2018, around 68,000 people made trips through their free Fresh Foods Market. Grant funds will support the purchase of culturally appropriate foods for cooking classes and translate program materials to effectively meet the needs of its diverse clients.
MICAH HOUSE (IOWA)
Project: Meals and Nutrition Support
Emergency shelter MICAH House has served the Council Bluffs, IA area for more than 30 years; the shelter is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In 2018, the organization served over 26,000 meals and provided food assistance to more than 900 individuals. Grant funds will help support the provision of three nutritious meals and one snack each day.
MILLION MEAL MOVEMENT (INDIANA)
Project: Empowering Youth to Fight Hunger at Home
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 40,000 meals, which are made up of high-quality long-grain rice, fortified crushed soy, a blend of six dehydrated vegetables, and 21 vitamins and minerals. These meals will be packed in local Indiana schools and delivered to food banks across the state.
QUALITY LIVING INC. (NEBRASKA)
Project: GRIT Adaptive Fitness Program
Quality Living delivers life-changing rehabilitation and care to individuals with brain and spinal cord injuries and other debilitating physical disabilities. Funds will support the purchase of specialized equipment for the GRIT Adaptive Fitness Program, a CrossFit-style workout that will help participants improve their physical fitness, achieve higher levels of social engagement, and enhance their overall ability to live a fulfilling life.
RISE UP (ARKANSAS)
Project: Fighting Hunger in Northwest Arkansas
Rise Up provides 25,000 meals each year to children and their families through weekend and summer food packages. Since the organization's founding just a few years ago, it has provided over 100,000 meals to children experiencing food insecurity in Northwest Arkansas.
RUSSELL FOUNDATION (PENNSYLVANIA)
Project: All-Inclusive Playground
NOC grant funds will support the first and only all-inclusive playground in the state of Pennsylvania. The playground will provide all children – regardless of any physical disabilities or limitations – with a safe space to play and explore.
SENIOR CENTER OF MACON (MISSOURI)
Project: Meals for Macon
The Senior Center of Macon and its Meals on Wheels program deliver approximately 100 nutritionally-balanced meals four days per week to homebound clients; the Center also provides onsite exercise classes and social activities. Funds will help purchase and repair kitchen equipment, and secure food for the meal distributions.
STEPPING STONES OF DUNN COUNTY (WISCONSIN)
Project: Food Pantry Support
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 over 50 families per day, six days a week, providing them with shelf-stable items as well as produce, bread, dairy, and protein.
TEST KITCHEN EDUCATION FOUNDATION (IOWA)
Project: Elliott Test Kitchen Expansion
The mission of the Elliott Test Kitchen is to inspire a passion for life-long learning and an appreciation for healthy food in young people. Students have access to homework help, test prep, and more, and are also served a daily meal prepared by area chefs. In just three years, the Test Kitchen has gone from serving 30 to 200 students per week. This capacity building grant will support program expansion, providing even more students with a safe place to study and enjoy a nutritious meal.
UNION-SNYDER AGENCY ON AGING (PENNSYLVANIA)
Project: Food Security for Seniors
The Agency provides wrap-around services to older adults, including home-delivered meals, health and wellness programs, assistance understanding and dealing with insurance and medical care, a Foster Grandparent Program, and more. This NOC grant will provide five to seven healthy in-home meals each week to more than 200 area seniors and reduce – and potentially eliminate – the waiting list for those in need of food assistance.
About Conagra Brands
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.
About Conagra Brands Foundation
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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SOURCE Conagra Brands, Inc.