Darden Restaurants has helped Feeding America® once again provide 10 member food banks with a 26-foot refrigerated truck, which can transport up to 12,000 pounds of food at a time to fight hunger in their community. This effort is supporting individuals and communities throughout the holiday season and beyond.
Made possible through a $2 million grant from the Darden Restaurants, Inc. Foundation and support from partners Penske Truck Leasing and the Lineage Foundation, these trucks are now part of mobile food pantry programs at food banks with the greatest need.
Food banks that received a truck this year include:
• Community FoodBank of New Jersey (Hillside, N.J.)
• Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona (Tucson, Ariz.)
• El Pasoans Fighting Hunger (El Paso, Texas)
• Feeding South Florida (Pembroke Park, Fla.)
• Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (Raleigh, N.C.)
• Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, Inc. (Indianapolis, Ind.)
• Houston Food Bank (Houston, Texas)
• Los Angeles Regional Food Bank (Los Angeles, Calif.)
• Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma (Oklahoma City, Okla.)
• Second Harvest of South Georgia, Inc. (Valdosta, Ga.)
“All of us at Darden have a shared purpose to nourish and delight everyone we serve, and our commitment to service extends beyond our restaurants into our communities,” said Rick Cardenas, President and CEO of Darden Restaurants. “As a restaurant company, we are able to make a meaningful difference in the fight against hunger. Through our long-standing partnership with Feeding America and our legacy Harvest food donation program, we can help individuals and families gain access to nutritious food.”
Across the nation, food banks are experiencing increased demand driven by grocery prices that remain high and the end of several pandemic-era benefits such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program emergency allotments. Feeding America estimates that more than 34 million people in the United States face hunger, and communities of color continue to be impacted at a disproportionately higher rate.
“In the face of persistently high grocery prices and the expiration of vital pandemic-era support, food banks are a lifeline for millions,” said Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO of Feeding America. “We’re grateful to team up with Darden, Penske, and Lineage again to continue our work to close the hunger gap, and these trucks will expand our food banks’ ability to deliver food where it’s needed most.”
Responding to the Need
Darden and the Darden Foundation have partnered with Feeding America for 13 years to address food insecurity. Since January 2021, Darden and its partners have helped add 35 trucks, along with money for operating expenses, for 35 food banks located in 18 different states.
In addition, Darden’s restaurants have participated in the Harvest food donation program for 20 years. Each week, team members prepare unserved, nutritious food like pasta, steak, chicken, vegetables and soup for donation to a local nonprofit – rather than disposing of it. Over two decades, the scale of Darden’s 1,900-plus locations have provided more than 136 million pounds of food for those who need it, amounting to 113 million meals.
About Darden Restaurants and the Darden Foundation
Darden’s family of restaurants features some of the most recognizable and successful brands in full-service dining — Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Yard House, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, The Capital Grille, Seasons 52, Eddie V’s and Bahama Breeze. For more information, visit www.darden.com.
The Darden Foundation works to bring to life our spirit of service through its philanthropic support of charitable organizations across the country. Since 1995, the Darden Foundation has awarded more than $110 million in grants to non-profit organizations such as Feeding America, National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) and American Red Cross.