Feeding America, the nation's leading domestic hunger-relief charity, and Abbott, the global healthcare company, today announced that more than $400,000 in adult and pediatric nutritionals originally intended for hurricane relief are now available to feed families at 20 food banks in seven states and Puerto Rico.
In early 2009, Abbott and Feeding America embarked on a partnership to "pre-position" nutritional products to regions that are highly vulnerable to hurricanes. By staging relief supplies in parts of the country in advance of being hit by hurricanes, people can be helped in a matter of hours or days instead of waiting for seven to ten days for emergency aid requests to be filled.
With the close of the 2009 hurricane season on November 30, the pre-positioned products that were stocked in preparation for major storms will now be re-directed to feed families via food banks.
"Partnering with Feeding America ensures that critical products are available to those who need them during and beyond the threat of hurricane season," said Kathy Pickus, divisional vice president, Global Citizenship, and Policy, Abbott. "By working with Feeding America's established network of food banks, many families can now have access to nutritional food."
The food pantry locations were selected based on proximity to areas vulnerable to hurricanes, their capacity to assist in disaster response and recovery, and on population coverage. The disaster relief packs consist of nutrition shakes and bars for adults, and nutrition and re-hydration drinks for children. The packs are specifically for families of different sizes and can collectively feed more than 20,000 people.
"We remain extremely grateful to Abbott for helping us pre-position relief supplies at our food banks in strategically important locations," said Vicki Escarra, president, and CEO, Feeding America. "We certainly are relieved to see that the 2009 hurricane season was mild in comparison to prior years, and we can now use these products to serve communities in need to help address chronic hunger, especially during the holiday season."
These additional supplies come at a time when over 55 percent of Feeding America network food banks have turned away clients because they could not meet the demand for food. In addition, an estimated 36.2 million Americans, or 12.2 percent, are food insecure; meaning their access to enough food is limited by a lack of money and other resources.
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 group's network of 206 food banks has worked in recent years to improve its disaster response capability with enhanced disaster planning, by developing and training support teams, and with staging supplies in advance of disasters.
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