Filling Tummies and Building Communities

Taylor Coffin of Land O'Lakes
September 29, 2016

Food symbolizes sustenance, community and life. It’s more than just a simple lunch or dinner—it matters how, where and with whom these nutrients are shared. And fighting hunger is more than filling tummies; it’s about building communities and empowering people. From what I have observed, the holistic healing of society begins with food.

Because of this, I am honored to participate in the fight against hunger through my role at Land O’Lakes, Inc. and our ongoing partnership with Feeding America. I am proud to work for a company that cares about making a difference and helping to feed human progress. Through my work, I’ve seen this purpose come to life so many times—but one project in particularly is close to my heart. It’s the Land O’Lakes Foundation’s First Run program, which donates truckloads of fresh product year round, made specifically for food banks to help alleviate hunger nationwide.

Often, I have the privilege of making that first call to the Feeding America member food bank receiving our donation. It usually sounds something like, “Hello? Yes, hi. I am calling from Land O’Lakes near St. Paul, Minnesota. My company would like to donate about 40,000 pounds of freshly made, low-fat, whole-grain macaroni and cheese to your food bank.”

As you can imagine, the reactions to these brief sentences–varying from screams of excitement to tears of gratitude–are the highlight of my job. In that moment, there is a connection between this stranger and myself, because we both know what 40,000 pounds of food can do for people in a community.

It means full stomachs, happy taste-buds, dignity and friendship. It means that we are one step closer to ending hunger—but it doesn’t end there. The 40,000 pounds of food may fill a few shelves, but we need the hands and hearts of millions of people in order to fill the aisles, and ultimately the tummies of all people. This month is Hunger Action Month, so I hope to see you moving.

*Taylor Coffin is the community affairs coordinator at Land O'Lakes, Inc.