Exhibitors at the co-located United Fresh Produce Association and Food Marketing Institute trade show donated more than 40,000 pounds of fresh produce and 22,000 pounds of other foods to the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
United Fresh exhibitors contributed more than 1,100 pounds of dry food to the food bank in addition to the more than 40,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables following the June 10-12 expo. Exhibitors on the FMI side of the show floor donated 21,800 pounds of food.
Kate Maehr, executive director and CEO of the food bank, said in a news release that more than 800,000 people in Cook County, Illinois, are struggling to put food on their tables.
“The rescued produce from United Fresh 2014 makes an immediate impact on hunger in our community,” she said in the release.
The food bank has a network of 650 pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and mobile programs in Cook County, according to the release. It is a member of the Feeding America network of food banks. In 2013, the Chicago food bank distributed the equivalent of 150,000 meals every day.
Gerry Maguire, vice president of supply chain for the food bank, said in the release the number of people the organization serves has increased by 70% since the beginning of the most recent recession.
“Collaboration with the food retail industry is a critical part of hunger relief, and we are grateful for the resulting awareness and meals that FMI Connect 2014 made possible for our neighbors in need,” Maguire said in the release.