Food Rescue: Feeding Hungry Is Just One Benefit

Food Rescue: Feeding Hungry Is Just One Benefit

General Mills hones skills in food rescue
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Thursday, October 18, 2012 - 12:10pm

CONTENT: Article

Inside General Mills

Last year, not a single General Mills food product – be it Yoplait yogurt or Pillsbury refrigerated cookies – was thrown away by our temperature-controlled warehouse in Massachusetts – a very rare occurrence. Instead, the Haverhill customer service facility (CSF) donated 1.25 million pounds of soon-to-expire food to The Greater Boston Food Bank.
In the company’s view, this is simply living a core value: Doing the right thing all the time. In this case, reducing food waste sent to landfills and increasing the amount of food given to food banks to feed the hungry.

It’s the latest example in what is becoming one of the company’s skills: food rescue.

“Haverhill has one of the best relationships with food banks in the country. Very little product goes to waste. Last year, General Mills did not throw a thing away from that facility. That’s impressive,” says Jim Delgehausen, manager of the North American Customer Service Facilities-Temperature Control products.


These are always products that are safe and in compliance with regulations to approved food banks.

For carrying on this General Mills tradition, Haverhill received the “Food Donor of the Year” award from The Greater Boston Food Bank, which distributes nearly 41 million pounds of food to more than 550 soup kitchens, food pantries and food shelters in eastern Massachusetts each year. General Mills was one of eight companies, organizations or individuals honored.

General Mills received the same award in 2005.

Lengthy alliance
Cheryl Blanton, product donations manager for The Greater Boston Food Bank, says her organization’s 13-year alliance with General Mills has been a strong one, and that the donated food will feed the working poor, families, children and the elderly.

“When it comes to corporate responsibility, it’s amazing that General Mills is able to reach out and help so many people. They have been great to work with, because they are so committed to the cause,” Blanton says.

The Haverhill location is one of numerous General Mills customer service facilities for refrigerated products that serve as warehouses for the company’s products, before shipping them to regional retailers such as grocery and discount stores.

1.25 million pounds donated
In the one-year period that concluded in September, the Haverhill facility donated 1.25 million pounds of food such as Pillsbury biscuits and cookies as well as Yoplait Original and Go-Gurt yogurt, which helped supplement nearly 1 million meals in a nine-county region. That’s roughly $1.3 million worth of food.

Since The Greater Boston Food Bank began tallying numbers in 2002, General Mills has donated more than 4.3 million pounds of food. (That equates to more than 3 million meals.) Nearly half of that number came in the past two years.

“These are always products that are safe and in compliance with regulations to approved food banks,” says Jeff Nelson, General Mills’ regional CSF manager-Northeast, who accepted the award.

And, sometimes, that donated General Mills food goes beyond The Greater Boston Food Shelf’s area.

Says Blanton: “If we get more than we can comfortably distribute, we have great relationships with Feeding America food banks throughout New England and New York City, which allows us to expand our reach to a greater number of folks in need. General Mills is truly an amazing partner, and we feel very fortunate.”