Grain-based foods alliance expands hunger relief

by Josh Sosland
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KANSAS CITY — Field to Family, a hunger relief initiative launched last year by two grain-based foods executives, has begun its second year of operations distributing bread, buns and pastries to food pantries. The program is expected to triple in size from 2009, according to the group’s founders.

Robert M. Kissick, senior vice-president of purchasing, Hostess Brands, a co-founder of Field to Family, said 30 different companies in the grain, milling, ingredient, baking and allied industries are supporting the program this year. Originally limited to Kansas City, the food distribution is expanding to the Chicago area this year. Over a 12-week period beginning Nov. 3, baked foods will be shipped from Hostess operations in Emporia and Lenexa, Kas., and from Schiller Park and Hodgkins, Ill.

“What a phenomenal expression of generosity up and down the food chain,” said Michael L. Dean, a merchandising manager for Horizon Milling in Overland Park, Kas., and the group’s other co-founder. “We salute our supplier and trading partners as you recognize the importance of health and nutrition in our communities. It’s unimaginable there is hunger in the very communities where we live. The Field to Family partnership addresses this issue and is important to many.”

Mr. Dean estimated deliveries this holiday season will aggregate 80,000 units, noting that the three-week total to date was 20,000.

Eleven nonprofit organizations in Kansas City and eight in Chicago are receiving the baked foods. Product is being delivered by Hostess delivery personnel as part of their regular delivery schedules. Food distribution centers will be communicating their weekly needs, helping make this year’s program more efficient, Mr. Kissick said.

Industry participants in the program are Allied Custom Gypsum, Bartlett Grain Co L.P., Blommer Chocolate, Cargill AgHorizons, CHS, Com Data, Country Hedging Inc, DeBruce Grain, EW Carlberg, Equity Marketing Alliance, Fleischmann’s Yeast, Gavilon Grain, General Mills, Horizon Milling, Hostess Brands, INTL/FC Stone, Kansas City Board of Trade, Lansing Trade Group, Louis Dreyfus Commodities, Malnove, OrTran, Mallet and Co., Penson GHCO, Pliant, The Scoular Co., Shay Grain Co., South Chicago Packing, SunOpta Ingredients, Team Marketing Alliance, United Sugar, West Plains Co., and WindRiver Grain.

Nonprofit pantries or programs receiving shipments in Kansas City are City Union Mission; Don Bosco Community Center; Della Lamb Community Services; Episcopal Community Services (three locations); Hope Faith Ministries; Backpacks for Hunger at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection; Operation Breakthrough; Raytown Christian Church Foods Pantry; and Village Presbyterian Church Food Pantry.

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