Two of the package food industry's biggest titans announced massive giveaways last week aimed at combating hunger. Both are working with Feeding America, formerly known as America's Second Harvest. General Mills, through its Hamburger Helper brand, will give up to 3.5 million meals to various food banks. Kellogg Co. is donating an entire day's cereal production, more than 55 million servings, valued at about $10 million.
Kellogg CEO David MacKay called the gift "unprecedented" in the company's 103-year history. "We wanted to dig a little deeper to help those Americans struggling to put food on their tables during these tough economic times and encourage others to give if they can as well," he said in a statement.
The nation's food banks are struggling to keep up with a 30% increase in the need for food assistance. Feeding America expects the need for children's meals to grow in the coming months as kids lose access to school-lunch programs.
"Right now one in eight Americans are struggling with hunger, and it is critical that we keep our food banks well stocked," Vicki Escarra, president-CEO of Feeding America, said in a statement. "Kellogg Co. has been a longtime and significant donor, providing us with both substantial funding and millions of pounds of food. They are a tremendous example of corporate America stepping forward to help the nation in a time of great need."
Consumers can do their part through Kellogg as well. Starting June 17, the company is linking its customers with families in need. Volunteers can visit www.kelloggs.com/feedingamerica to help fill another family's pantry. Kellogg will send consumers $5 in coupons for every $5 donation to Feeding America.
General Mills' Hamburger Helper, through a campaign called "Show your helping hands," is donating money to provide as many as 3.5 million meals. That happens as consumers enter UPC codes from box tops at ShowYourHelpingHand.com or bringing shelf-stable donations to Beyoncé concerts.
"We all have the opportunity to show our helping hands and help fight hunger in America," Beth Brady, VP, General Mills, said in a statement. "By partnering with Beyoncé and Feeding America, we can collectively draw attention and resources to the critical issue of hunger in America."