ORLANDO, Fla., March 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Olive Garden is strengthening its commitment to helping families in need by partnering with Feeding America, the nation's leading domestic hunger-relief organization. In addition to Olive Garden's ongoing efforts, this new partnership with Feeding America will add 5.5 million more meals* to help families facing hunger in communities across the country. Together, Feeding America and Olive Garden share the belief that no family should go without a meal.
In the United States, 48 million people face food insecurity, including 15 million children.1 Since 2003, every Olive Garden restaurant has participated in the Olive Garden Harvest program, where every day, the more than 800 restaurants in the U.S. and Canada "harvest" wholesome, surplus food that is not served to guests and safely prepare it for donation. Over the last 13 years, the program has donated more than 34 million pounds of food, or the equivalent of more than 28 million meals,2 to local food banks, shelters and other charitable organizations.
"Our restaurants are committed to giving back to the communities they serve, and our team members are proud of the local impact they make every day through the Olive Garden Harvest program," said Dave George, president of Olive Garden. "We are excited to build on that success and accelerate the results of our hunger-relief efforts by partnering with Feeding America."
The Feeding America network of food banks serves virtually every county in the country, enabling meals to reach more than 46 million people who face hunger in the United States. By combining efforts, Olive Garden can make a substantial impact with the meals they help provide.
"One in seven Americans are unsure of where they will find their next meal," said Leah Ray, senior vice president of development of Feeding America. "Support from partners like Olive Garden is critical in the fight against hunger, and this commitment will make a tangible impact by providing food for people who need it."
ABOUT OLIVE GARDEN
Olive Garden is the leading restaurant in the Italian dining segment with more than 800 restaurants, more than 96,000 employees and more than $3.8 billion in annual sales. Olive Garden is a division of Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI), which owns and operates more than 1,500 restaurants that generate over $6.8 billion in annual sales. Headquartered in Orlando, Fla., and employing more than 150,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people. Olive Garden is committed to making a difference in the lives of others in the local community. As part of this commitment, Olive Garden restaurants have donated more than 34 million pounds of food to local community food banks across the country. For more information, visit www.olivegarden.com. Connect with us on Facebook.com/OliveGarden, Twitter.com/OliveGarden and Instagram.com/OliveGarden.
ABOUT FEEDING AMERICA
Feeding America is the nationwide network of 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States. Together, we provide food to more than 46 million people through 60,000 food pantries and meal programs in communities across America. Feeding America also supports programs that improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate. Together we can solve hunger. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.
*Darden Foundation guarantees a donation of 5,500,000 meals (monetary equivalent of $500,000) to Feeding America® and member food banks. $1 helps provide 11 meals secured by Feeding America® on behalf of local member food banks.
2 According to the USDA, 1.2 pounds = 1 meal.
SOURCE Olive Garden