Contact: Marie L. McGeehan at Casey Communications, Inc., 314/962-0944, or Dee Wetzel at Schnuck Markets, Inc., 314/994-4608, or Sunny L. Schaefer at Operation Food Search, 314/726-5355.
August 11, 1999
Schnucks Tops List of Operation Food Search Donors
With Donation of More Than $5 Million in Food in 1998
Schnuck Markets, Inc. donated more than $5 million worth of groceries to Operation Food Search in 1998, making Schnucks the largest single contributor among 900 donors. Schnucks' donation equates to 4.5 million pounds of food which generated 4.9 million meals, one out of every three meals Operation Food Search serves.
Given the average American eats nearly 1,500 pounds of food annually, Schnucks' donation equates to feeding approximately 2,995 St. Louisans last year for the entire year.
"We are pleased to support Operation Food Search because they do an outstanding job of providing safe and nutritional food to thousands of people in our community," said Nancy Diemer, Schnucks' director of community affairs.
Schnucks' contribution enabled Operation Food Search to reach its highest annual collection total ever of $13.3 million worth of food.
Operation Food Search, founded in 1981, is the largest distributor of free food in the area
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Schnucks Tops List of Operation Food Search Donors -- add one 8/11/99
and distributes canned foods, surplus perishables and prepared foods to 300 emergency food
pantries in 19 counties in Missouri and Illinois.
Schnucks contributes bakery, dairy, deli, frozen food, grocery and produce items from its stores that are no longer salable for a variety of reasons. The food item might be approaching a freshness expiration date or be mislabeled or mispackaged.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture released a report in fall 1997 that stated 96 billion pounds of food are discarded annually.
"Thanks to the efforts of all our associates throughout our organization, good food does not go to waste," said Diemer.
Schnucks also donates food from its advertising department, bakery department, corporate cafeteria, grocery warehouse, Mid States Dairy, perishable warehouse, Schnucks Kitchen and reclamation center.
Operation Food Search Executive Director Sunny L. Schaefer says drops in food stamp availability and welfare reforms have increased the number of people seeking help from pantries. Increasing numbers of people who are working but not earning enough to make ends meet are looking to emergency food pantries for help.
"It's no secret we are not winning the battle against hunger," says Schaefer. "We appreciate Schnucks' outstanding leadership and the support from the grocery industry as a whole in helping combat this growing problem."
Operation Food Search works with Schnucks' individual stores, facilities and
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Schnucks Tops List of Operation Food Search Donors -- add two 8/11/99
departments to educate Schnucks associates on what to save and to establish pickup schedules
with Operation Food Search agencies. By adding more stores to the program, Schnucks'
donations increased from $2.9 million worth of groceries in 1996 to $5 million in 1998.
Schnucks' customers also have helped Operation Food Search reach its record total. For six weeks a year, Schnucks customers and other grocery store shoppers donate to Operation Food Search and the St. Louis Area Food Bank in the Hunger Never Takes a Vacation program held each summer. In 1998, generous Schnucks customers donated close to $32,000.
Operation Food Search pantries and agencies pass a rigorous annual certification program and receive sanitation training to ensure food safety.
Schnuck Markets, Inc. currently operates 91 stores in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana. The family-owned company was founded in St. Louis in 1939.