(May 19, 3:57 p.m.) U.S. Foodservice, Chicago, has launched Full Plates, Full Lives, a major corporate campaign in support of America’s Second Harvest.

The campaign will engage U.S. Foodservice associates and their communities to assist in the fight against hunger.

“The campaign consists of four components,” said Johanna Van Dors, corporate relations marketing manager for U.S. Foodservice. “No. 1 is that we are selling the ‘Recipes from the Heart’ cookbook, which has recipes from U.S. Foodservice employees and stories from individuals we’ve served. Phase 2 is an employee giving campaign in July with the foods going to local food banks. Phase 3 is local food drives in October, and Phase 4 is the ‘Drive Away Hunger’ golf tournament we’re having in the Chicago area in September.”

With a commitment of $250,000 by U.S. Foodservice, the goal of the campaign is to raise $1 million, Van Dors said.

The campaign comes at a crucial time for America’s Second Harvest, said Ross Fraser, media relations manager.

“We are in bad shape because of the economy,” he said. “Demand at food banks is up 20% and donations are down 9%. The USDA donations alone are down $200 million worth of products. It’s a perfect storm — more demand and less food — so to have a major player like U.S. Foodservice come on board is huge.”

This is not the first time U.S. Foodservice has supported America’s Second Harvest, but this is the first large-scale campaign they’ve initiated, Fraser said.

U.S. Foodservice launches push to aid food bank