We are thrilled to announced that The Darden Restaurants, Inc. Foundation is donating $500,000 to Second Harvest Food Bank’s newly launched “Building Solutions to Hunger” capital campaign. This campaign is a large-scale fundraising effort that will help build a 100,000-square-foot headquarter for Second Harvest, which will include the Darden-sponsored Community Kitchen.
The Capital Grille, which is part of Darden’s family of brands, also supported the campaign by donating $50,000 from the proceeds of its annual Artist Series Wine Event which benefits Share Our Strength and its mission to end childhood hunger. Darden also made an additional $200,000 in-kind donation to Second Harvest.
A quote from Second Harvest CEO and President, Dave Krepcho on the donation:
“The harsh reality is that the demand for our services continues to grow and our infrastructure must grow with it. Each year, we’re forced to turn away more than two million pounds of donated food due to a lack of adequate space and equipment. Capacity is king in the world of hunger relief and a new facility will provide the ability to more than double our current distribution over the next 10-15 years. Darden’s unwavering support in providing hunger relief means a lot to the food bank, and will directly help thousands of Central Floridians.”
Quote from Drew Madsen, president and chief operating officer of Darden:
“We see the needs of organizations like Second Harvest every day in the communities where we do business across the country. Helping address the growing need for hunger relief is just one of the many ways we give back to the communities we serve.”
Darden’s contributions complement the Darden Harvest food donation program, which works to strengthen neighborhoods here in Orlando and across the country by regularly donating unused food to local food banks.
Last year in Central Florida, the program provided more than 182,000 pounds of food to Second Harvest. All together, Darden donated more than nine million pounds of food to food banks in communities across the country last year – enough to feed more than 2,800 families of four, three meals a day for an entire year.
Second Harvest’s new building will house main offices, a distribution center, volunteer workspace, freezer, cooler, and meeting space that can be utilized by many outside groups throughout the community. One of the key areas will be the Darden-sponsored community kitchen where high-quality, high-volume meals are prepared for distribution to network partners. It was designed to help address one of the root causes of hunger – lack of employable skills.
The Community Kitchen will provide job training, nutrition education and even life skills training. In fact, an executive chef and assistants will teach participants how to properly prepare and handle food so that they can find jobs in food service.
Additional campaign donors include Morgan & Morgan, P.A., Baker Barrios Architects, Brasfield & Gorrie, Burke, Hogue, Mills, Inc., CNL Financial Group, Inc., Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation, Second Harvest’s Board of Directors, and many more generous contributors.
To learn more about the “Building Solutions to Hunger” capital campaign visit www.ShowMercyNow.org or contact me at 407-295-5009, ext. 21.