MINNEAPOLIS, Dec. 4 New data from the U.S. government shows more than 49 million Americans struggled to get enough to eat at some point in 2008, the highest total in 14 years. This means one in six Americans struggled with hunger. To wake up Americans to the hunger issue, General Mills CEO Ken Powell, NBC's The Biggest Loser's Bob Harper and Feeding America president and CEO Vicki B. Escarra are teaming up to turn on the production line for an unprecedented donation to local food banks.
General Mills is increasing its commitment to Feeding America, a partner for nearly 30 years, by ensuring that 49 million bowls of whole grain cereal are donated to Feeding America this year for delivery to local food banks across the country.
"Our more than 200 network food banks across the nation have shown an average 30 percent increase in demand over last year, but we still were astonished when we learned of the newest statistics about the deepening hunger crisis," said Vicki B. Escarra, president and CEO, Feeding America. "Too many people wake up without knowing what they will eat, but this donation is a big help in the fight against hunger."
Given the alarming statistics, there's no time to waste. Escarra, Powell and Harper are traveling to General Mills facilities in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Ohio and Cedar Rapids, Iowa to visit the people behind the cereal donation, connect with local food bank employees and encourage Americans to join the cause.
"General Mills is strongly committed to raising awareness of the hunger issue, so when we heard the newest statistics, we knew we had to take action," said Ken Powell, CEO, General Mills. "We're pleased to donate 49 million bowls of General Mills' Big G cereals made with whole grain, which can deliver many health benefits, to local food banks."
Last year, General Mills donated $16 million of food to Feeding America, and in the past decade, General Mills product donations have exceeded $168 million dollars. In fiscal 2009, General Mills contributed more than $90.7 million to help alleviate hunger, advance nutrition wellness, and support education, social services, arts, and culture.
To help fight hunger in their own communities and help Feeding America deliver millions of pounds of groceries to local food banks, Americans can join the Pound For Pound Challenge, a charitable campaign highlighted on NBC's The Biggest Loser. For a second year, for every pound of weight participants pledge to lose, the Pound For Pound Challenge will donate $0.14 to Feeding America (up to $800,000), enough to deliver one pound of groceries to a local food bank. The Pound For Pound Challenge starts December 8 after the season finale of NBC's The Biggest Loser (8 p.m. EST).
"Thanks to the Pound For Pound Challenge, my work today to help get whole grain cereals to millions of Americans is just the start of a larger movement to help the hungry," said Bob Harper, trainer, NBC's The Biggest Loser. "We helped Feeding America deliver more than 3.5 million pounds of groceries to local food banks through the Pound For Pound Challenge last year and are thrilled to give Americans yet another chance to help themselves while helping others."
For an inside look at how Harper is helping the hunger cause and to find out more about the Pound For Pound Challenge, tune into the season finale of NBC's The Biggest Loser.
Visit www.PFPChallenge.com/WakeUpToHunger to learn more about joining the movement and for more on how the partners are helping America wake up to hunger.
About General Mills
One of the world's leading food companies, General Mills operates in over 100 countries and markets more than 100 consumer brands, including Cheerios, Haagen-Dazs, Nature Valley, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Green Giant, Old El Paso, Progresso, Cascadian Farm, Muir Glen and more. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A., General Mills had fiscal 2009 global net sales of US$15.9 billion, including the company's $1.2 billion proportionate share of joint venture net sales. Visit www.generalmills.com.
About Feeding America
Feeding America provides low-income individuals and families with the fuel to survive and even thrive. As the nation's largest domestic hunger-relief charity, our network members supply food to more than 25 million Americans each year, including 9 million children and 3 million seniors. Serving the entire United States, more than 200 member food banks operate 63,000 agencies that address hunger in all of its forms. For more information on how you can fight hunger in your community and across the country, visit www.feedingamerica.org.
About The Biggest Loser
The first reality series where everybody "loses," The Biggest Loser challenges and encourages overweight contestants to shed pounds in a safe and recommended manner through comprehensive diet and exercise as they compete for a grand prize of $250,000. Hosted by Alison Sweeney (Days of our Lives), the series provides the contestants with challenges, temptations, weigh-ins and eliminations until the final contestant remains to claim the title of "the biggest loser." Each team works out under the supervision of professional trainers Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper. The Biggest Loser is a production of Reveille LLC, 25/7 Productions and 3 Ball Productions.
Beyond the U.S. where more than 100 episodes of the show have aired, The Biggest Loser has become a worldwide hit appearing in over 90 countries and produced in 25 countries. Since its debut in 2004, The Biggest Loser has grown to become a standalone health and lifestyle brand by developing tools and products inspired by the show and approved by its doctors and experts. Anchored by the online, subscription-based extension of the show, Biggestloserclub.com, The Biggest Loser Meal Plan, The New York Times best-selling books series, best-selling fitness DVD series, a line of appliances, fitness equipment, protein supplements and countless other health and lifestyle based products, The Biggest Loser consumer products program has generated over $100 million in spending with presence at more than 25,000 major retailers to date. The Biggest Loser was recognized as a top brand of the year in Advertising Age's 2008 Marketing 50. Check out www.biggestloser.com for more information.
For more information, contact:Kristen Goldberg, General Mills763firstname.lastname@example.orgKristen Roskowski, GolinHarris312email@example.com
SOURCE General Mills