Children at Casa Central in Chicago are a little more active. More families in New Jersey have nourishing meals on their plates. Kids in Curitiba, Brazil, have learned about healthy lifestyle habits. More meals have been delivered to community organizations in the U.K. And children in the Philippines impacted by recent flooding received much-needed food. All this -- and much more -- thanks to the helping hands and caring hearts of Kraft Foods employee volunteers in 33 countries.
As part of the company's first-ever"Make a Delicious Difference Week," Kraft Foods made an aggressive commitment to rally 10,000 employees around the world to volunteer from Oct. 5 – 10. The global effort was a first of its kind for the company, aiming to engage six times the number of employees than previous efforts.
The challenge was set. And Kraft Foods employees answered – in a big way. With an outpouring of support from more than 12,000 employees around the globe, the company surpassed its original volunteer goal by more than 20 percent. Most importantly, the week-long effort touched the lives of about 600,000 individuals in need. That's 100,000 more than originally estimated.
And the need is great. According to a report from the National Conference on Citizenship, in the midst of the recession, 72 percent of Americans have cut back on civic participation, which includes the time spent volunteering. Two-thirds say that Americans are responding to the economic downturn by helping themselves. The numbers suggest that the American tradition of volunteering is stalling.
Chairman and CEO Irene Rosenfeld, who spent time during the week packing and sorting food at the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, said,"There's no doubt that more needs to be done to lessen the impact of the global financial crisis on families around the world. But I'm humbled and inspired by the flood of support from our employees around the globe. They pour their hearts into everything they do -- whether it's making delicious foods or a delicious difference in their communities."
Spread the Spirit with the Click of the Mouse
To build on the success of"Make a Delicious Difference" and spread the volunteer spirit, Kraft Foods employees have created an online video to encourage more people to get involved by heeding the call of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, which just took affect Oct. 1.
Starting today, people can visit www.kraftfoodscompany.com or YouTube (keywords:"delicious difference") to watch the video. Each time it's viewed, Kraft Foods will donate money to Feeding America to help provide five meals to those at risk of hunger -- up to 100,000 meals through the end of October.
Projects Around the World Made a Delicious Difference
A veritable smorgasbord of more than 150 company-supported projects took place around the world. The list below provides a taste from the week-long event.
- In the Chicago area, more than 1,200 employees volunteered, from packing food for 15,000 hungry people at the Greater Chicago Food Depository to hosting"Olympics" events at Casa Central and Basil Chicago International Charter School.
- In New Jersey, hundreds of volunteers packed food at the Community FoodBank of New Jersey and weeded community vegetable gardens at Green Chimneys.
- In Russia, 200 employees participated in outdoor activities, such as planting at a park, repairing and painting a playground and cultivating school gardens.
- In Costa Rica, more than 75 employees cleaned floors, painted walls, shared meals and led games at a foster home for abandoned kids.
- In Venezuela, Ecuador, Colombia and Peru, about 500 volunteers helped more than 4,000 people by leading nutrition and environmental games for 2,500 low-income public school children and teaching classes to encourage entrepreneurship.
- In the U.K., dozens of employees cooked and served meals at Cheltenham Open Door and donated and sorted clothing to benefit hundreds of people in need.
- In Thailand, about 200 employees helped roughly 100 students at Baan Kut Chiangmi Primary School by sprucing up their kitchen and library, playing active games with students and preparing a nutritious lunch.
And to supplement its employees' efforts, the Kraft Foods Foundation matched U.S. employee cash contributions to nonprofits on a two-to-one basis throughout the week. Together, the Foundation and company employees donated more than $2 million throughout the week.
Kraft Foods' Support of Hunger and Healthy Lifestyles
As the second largest food company in the world, Kraft Foods is taking a stand when it comes to fighting hunger and promoting healthy lifestyles. Since 1997, the company has provided more than 1 billion servings of fresh food. Around the world, the company contributes approximately $100 million annually in food and money to community organizations. The company and its foundation committed $180 million in the next three years to community involvement activities around the globe. The expansion of its global employee volunteer efforts though the first global"Make a Delicious Difference Week" is another example of Kraft Foods' stepped up efforts.
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About Feeding America
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.