Feeding America today announced that it is working with the global health care company, Abbott, to pre-position nutritional products in 20 food banks throughout the Southeast United States and Puerto Rico in preparation for the 2009 hurricane season, which officially arrives on June 1. Feeding America is the nation's largest domestic hunger-relief organization.
Food banks will receive pre-packaged disaster relief packs containing both adult and pediatric nutritionals that are designed specifically for families of different sizes. These disaster relief packs will serve more than 20,000 people in the aftermath of a natural disaster. Food banks were selected based on vulnerability to hurricanes, their capacity to assist in disaster response and recovery, and on population coverage.
Volunteers within organizations such as The East Texas Food Bank in Tyler, Texas and America's Second Harvest of South Georgia in Valdosta, Georgia, have agreed to create 5,200 disaster relief packs containing 232,000 pounds of Abbott-donated nutritionals for distribution across U.S. food banks by the start of hurricane season.
"Our goal, in partnering with Feeding America, is to empower communities to ensure that critical products are immediately available to those who need them when a disaster strikes. Pre-positioned products can be distributed quickly and reliably by working through Feeding America's established network of food banks," said Kathy Pickus, divisional vice president, Global Citizenship and Policy, Abbott.
"We are extremely grateful to Abbott for donating to us and helping us pre-position relief supplies at our food banks in strategically important locations," said Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of Feeding America."We certainly hope that there aren't any hurricanes this season, but we can now take some small comfort in the fact that should a hurricane hit, we will be ready to immediately provide food, water and other supplies to people in need. These supplies are intended to help bridge the gap until the rest of our Network can aid the food banks serving affected communities."
"If the donated supplies are not needed for disaster use this season," said Escarra,"They will be rolled into the food bank's regular inventory, providing extra assistance to those in need on an everyday basis."
The Abbott/Feeding America disaster relief packs will be pre-staged at the following food banks:
Feeding America provided more than 25.6 million pounds of food and grocery products to food banks throughout Louisiana, Texas and other Gulf Coast states in 2008, following the devastation caused by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike.
Feeding America is now in its 20th year of providing disaster relief services. The network of 206 food banks has worked in recent years to improve its disaster response capability with enhanced disaster planning, by developing and training national support teams, and with the staging supplies in advance of disaster.
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Feeding America® is the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States. Through a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs, we provide meals to more than 46 million people each year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent food waste and 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.
Abbott is a global, broad-based health care company devoted to the discovery, development, manufacture and marketing of pharmaceuticals and medical products, including nutritionals, devices and diagnostics. The company employs approximately 83,000 people and markets its products in more than 130 countries. Abbott's news releases and other information are available on the company's Web site at www.abbott.com.