The Darden Foundation, the charitable arm of Darden Restaurants, Inc., has made a $1.7 million donation to Feeding America® on behalf of Darden’s U.S.-based restaurants. The funds will directly benefit nearly all of the 200 food banks in the Feeding America nationwide network, helping to provide 18.7 million meals1 to families and individuals in need.
“As a restaurant company that serves 380 million guests annually, Darden and our brands are uniquely positioned to help make a difference in the fight against hunger,” said Susan Connelly, senior vice president of Communications and Public Affairs for Darden. “Providing great food and service is fundamental to our business, and our definition of service extends beyond the four walls of our restaurants and into the communities we serve. We’re pleased to build on our company’s legacy of fighting food insecurity through our financial support of Feeding America and their food bank affiliates across the country.”
This donation by the Darden Foundation builds on Darden’s long-standing commitment to supporting hunger-relief efforts. Since 2003, the company has been donating unserved food from its restaurants to local food banks and other non-profits through its Harvest program. Every day, every Darden restaurant takes surplus, wholesome food that isn't served to guests and, rather than discarding it, safely prepares it for donation. Recently, the Harvest program achieved a significant milestone when it reached a total of 100 million pounds of food donated over the life of program. That’s the equivalent of 83.3 million meals2 provided to people in need across the communities served by Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Yard House, The Capital Grille, Seasons 52, Bahama Breeze and Eddie V’s.
Combined, financial and in-kind donations are the equivalent of more than 102 million meals2 donated to domestic hunger-relief organizations across the country, of which many are food banks in the Feeding America network.
“The Darden Foundation’s significant investment in Feeding America creates a tangible impact for our network of food banks nationwide,” said Diana Aviv, CEO at Feeding America. “We are thankful to Darden for its generous support of programs and initiatives that help provide nourishing food to children and families in need.”
Across the United States, 42 million people face food insecurity, including 13 million children. In fact, according to Map the Meal Gap, a Feeding America study that assesses food insecurity across the nation, every county in the country is affected by hunger. In the greater Orlando service area, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida faces a higher child food-insecurity rate than the national average, totaling nearly 200,000 children in need.3
“The support we receive from Darden, both financially and through their food donations, is a tremendous blessing,” said Dave Krepcho, president of Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, a Feeding America member food bank. “It’s critical to the work we do to help our community and children on a daily basis.”
1 $1 helps provide 11 meals secured by Feeding America® on behalf of local member food banks
2 Combined donation total of 83.3 million meals (in-kind) and 8.7 million meals (financial).
3 USDA ARS Analysis of “What We Eat in America,” NHANES 2011-2012.