Feeding America, the nation's largest domestic hunger-relief organization, announced today that the Darden Foundation, the charitable arm of Darden Restaurants Inc., awarded $487,000 to its member food banks through Darden's Restaurant Community Grants program.
The local grants program helps support nonprofit organizations in the hundreds of communities Darden and its restaurant brands serve. Every restaurant within the Darden family had the opportunity to help award a $1,000 grant to support local community programs that align with three focus areas: access to postsecondary education, preservation of natural resources and hunger. The 487 Darden restaurants that chose to award a grant to a Feeding America member food bank worked together to provide 127 grants.
"Our restaurant teams are incredibly passionate about giving back to the communities where they live," said Drew Madsen, Darden Restaurants' president and chief operating officer."We're all proud to partner with Feeding America member food banks to build on that passion through programs like this as well as the Darden Harvest food donation program to bring real, local citizenship to life by enabling each restaurant to make a difference in their backyard."
The Capital Area Food Bank in Washington, DC received $23,000, the largest Darden's Restaurant Community Grant. Red Lobster, Olive Garden and Seasons 52 restaurants in the DC-area partnered together for the grant, which will help secure meals for 478,100 community members who may not know where they will find their next meal.
Some of the community grants will also support food bank ������programs such as the Philabundance Community Kitchen program, which received a $21,000 grant from Capital Grille, Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze and Longhorn Steakhouse restaurants in Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley region. This 14-week culinary arts job training program provides low-income individuals the opportunity to gain the skills needed for sustainable employment in the food service industry.
"On behalf of our member food banks, we are honored and thankful to be chosen again by Darden's Restaurant Community Grants program," said Bob Aiken, president and CEO of Feeding America."The Darden Foundation instills a strong commitment to service that extends beyond its restaurants' walls to giving back within the communities in which its employees work. Given that food insecurity exists in every county in our nation, these grants will help place essential and nutritious food into the hands of neighbors in need."
For more information about hunger in your community, view Feeding America's county-by-county interactive map and food insecurity study, Map the Meal Gap.
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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 Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI), the world's largest full-service restaurant company, owns and operates more than 2,000 restaurants that generate over $8.0 billion in annual sales. Headquartered in Orlando, Fla., and employing more than 190,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people. In 2013, Darden was named to the FORTUNE"100 Best Companies to Work For" list for the third year in a row and is the only full-service restaurant company to ever appear on the list. Our restaurant brands – Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V's and Yard House – reflect the rich diversity of those who dine with us. Our brands are built on deep insights into what our guests want. For more information, please visit www.darden.com.
ABOUT THE DARDEN FOUNDATION
The Darden Restaurants, Inc. Foundation is the charitable arm of Darden Restaurants, Inc. The Foundation's mission is to maintain a spirit of volunteerism and philanthropy as defining characteristics of Darden Restaurants. Since 1995, the Darden Foundation has awarded more than $60 million in grants, with $7.2 million given in fiscal year 2012. The Darden Foundation carries out its mission by focusing philanthropic efforts and resources on the following program areas: Access to Postsecondary Education, Preservation of Natural Resources and Good Neighbor Grants. For more information, please visit www.dardenfoundation.com.