Dierbergs 2009 Food Donations to Operation Food Search
For Immediate Release: December 23, 2009
DIERBERGS’ FOOD DONATIONS TO OPERATION FOOD SEARCH
AVERAGE THREE-QUARTERS OF A TON PER STORE, PER WEEK
Dierbergs Markets reported donations this year of nearly two million pounds of food to Operation Food Search, the largest distributor of free food to those in need in the bi-state region.
Dierbergs donated 1,901,365 pounds of unsold or overstocked foods from 23 stores and its central kitchen and baking facility. That food becomes part of Operation Food Search’s (OFS) monthly distributions to a network of 250 community partner agencies including food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, orphanages and senior centers. Each month, more than 120,000 people in the St. Louis bi-state region, nearly half of whom are children, receive food assistance through this network.
Dierbergs’ donations amount to approximately nine percent of OFS’s annual collection of more than 22 million pounds of food and household items each year. During its 2009 fiscal year ending Sept. 30, Operation Food search received food donations from approximately 245 companies, restaurants and community organizations from a 10-state region. The food is then exclusively distributed in Missouri and Illinois.
Each Dierbergs store, on average, donates more than 82,000 pounds of food annually to OFS. That equates to three quarters of a ton per store, per week every week of the year. On a per store basis, that’s more than any other food retailer supporting OFS.
Dierbergs’ relationship with Operation Food Search dates to the organization’s earliest days. When OFS was incorporated as a non-profit agency in 1981, Dierbergs was the first supermarket to donate foods.
“Dierbergs has a long history with our organization,” said Sunny Schaefer, executive director, Operation Food Search. “From the beginning, Dierbergs took a lead in food donations and, in doing so, provided the necessary leadership for the program to grow. This was at a time prior to ‘good Samaritan’ liability statutes that now protect companies making good faith food donations for distribution to those in need.”
Dierbergs also hosts customer food drives throughout the year during peak times of need.
One of those food drives is underway now. All Dierbergs stores are participating as Drop-off points for food donations to OFS throughout the holidays. Each store has pre-packaged grocery bags filled with basic food staples that can be purchased for under $5 or $10 and placed in the Operation Food Search bin in the store or dropped off at any local food pantry. Customers can also make donations at any checkout stand; coupons for $1, $5 and $10 benefit Operation Food Search and the fight against poverty and hunger. All of these customer donations are on top of Dierbergs annual contributions of more than 1.9 million pounds.
“For hungry people in our area, these bags and donations at Dierbergs’ checkouts are a wonderful gift,” said Schaefer. “They offer hope to an empty cupboard.”
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Todd E. Vasel
Dierbergs Markets, Inc.