From freezer to table: getting bulk frozen food to people in need.

March 7, 2016
by Kitty Finn

Russellville, Arkansas is home to ConAgra Foods’ frozen meal production facility for P.F. Chang, Bertolli, Healthy Choice, and Banquet brands. The facility has fostered a relationship with Feeding America member Arkansas Foodbank in Little Rock, for the donation of foods used in the development of new recipes—things like bulk totes of frozen meat patties, chicken strips, shrimp, rice, pasta, and mixed vegetables. Fourteen enthusiastic people from ConAgra Foods had the passion to help their local community and went the extra mile to make this partnership happen. This facility now donates 1,000-1,400-pound totes of good, safe bulk product that were previously dumped or sold as animal feed. ConAgra repackages some of this food for the food bank, which makes it even easier to distribute to food pantries and meal programs. 

Partnering with ConAgra Foods, we worked together and thought through the best way to make this donation process seamless. After considering several options, we ultimately landed on the process of ConAgra Foods labeling totes of food. Then, food banks pick up the totes and transfer them to food pantries or meal programs equipped with proper frozen storage, so that they can safely distribute this nutritious food to the people they serve.

This process allows Arkansas Foodbank to deliver full totes of frozen product to approximately 55 Arkansas food pantries and meal programs that directly feed people in need. These pantries and programs store the product in its frozen state and then portion out what’s needed to prepare for each meal. 

The impact of these donations to the food bank has been tremendous. Through this partnership, they’ve been able to:

  • Foster a stronger relationship locally and nationally with ConAgraFoods
  • Carve a path for potential future opportunities to create on-site, bulk repack facilities
  • Provide important, nutritious and rarely donated protein to food pantries and meal programs
  • Keep the donated food in its local community
  • Help feed children facing hunger in support of ConAgra Foods’ child hunger cause efforts

Feeding America and the Arkansas Foodbank are grateful for these donations from ConAgra Foods and we look forward to working together to continue to feed people in need across the country.

* Kitty Finn is the senior account manager, manufacturing product sourcing at Feeding America.