For a second consecutive year, companies in the grain, milling and baking industries are coming together in an initiative to combat hunger.

Dubbed “Field to Family,” the program distributes bread, buns and pastries to food pantries. The program, set to triple in size from 2009, growing from its Kansas City base to distribution in Chicago as well, is the brainchild of Robert M. Kissick, senior vice-president of purchasing, at Hostess Brands, and Michael L. Dean, a merchandising manager for Horizon Milling L.L.C.

A wide range of grain merchandising and allied trade companies are adding their help to make “Field to Farm” a success. While grain-based foods has a rich history of actively supporting food banks and working to alleviate hunger, “Field to Farm” is unique in its entrepreneurial and cooperative qualities. And the needs the program addresses, sadly, are growing.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued data in November indicating that food insecurity in the United States, defined as reduced quality, variety or desirability of diet (low food security) or reports of multiple indications of disrupted eating patterns and reduced food intake (very low food security)) reached a new high of 14.7% of the population in 2009, against 14.6% in 2008 and well above figures the previous 10 years ranging from a low of 10.1% to a high of 12%.

Mr. Kissick and Mr. Dean are to be congratulated for their efforts as this holiday season begins and each of us has an opportunity to consider all for which we should be grateful.