Pepperidge Farm Employees Volunteer Their Service to Hometown of Norwalk During 'Make a Difference Week'

More than 150 Employees Help City's Largest Food Pantry Reopen Its Doors
Oct 26, 2011 11:15 AM ET

(3BL Media / theCSRfeed) October 26, 2011 - In keeping with one of its company values, "teamwork with a spirit of genuine caring," Pepperidge Farm, Inc. today staged its sixth all-employee service day for Headquarters employees. The event is part of parent Campbell Soup Company's "Make a Difference Week" activities being supported by employee volunteers nationwide. More than 150 employees will donate their time at the Christian Community Action Group, Norwalk's largest food pantry, to help ready the building for its reopening on Wednesday, October 26. Employees will paint, refinish furniture, build indoor and outdoor furniture and stock newly built food pantries. Pepperidge Farm donated the shelving for the food pantries. Other partners include Monet Landscaping of Norwalk and Home Depot.

"We are extremely proud to be part of the Norwalk community, and partnering with others to help our neighbors in need is more important than ever right now," said Pat Callaghan, President of Pepperidge Farm. "Especially as a food company, the Pepperidge Farm community is very glad to support such a critical service."

The Christian Community Action Group feeds over 4,000 people annually. CCA has been in operation since 1972 and has seen its number of clients increasing -- most dramatically in the last four years. During that time, there has been a 45% increase in the number of people seeking help to provide food for themselves and their families.

"About half of the people the organization feeds are children and seniors," said Ruthann Walsh, Pepperidge Farm Director, Corporate Citizenship. "These are the most vulnerable segments of our population, and to see so many suffering from hunger should drive us to respond with open hands."

Families served by CCA historically were single-parent and immigrant families. But recently there have been more two-parent families who are still fighting the effects of the economic downturn. Seniors who come to CCA are mostly living on low, fixed incomes and can't quite get by month-to-month without some help.

Until August 2011, CCA had operated in the local CAP agency, NEON, for 30 years. CCA was asked to relocate so NEON could accommodate more of its own programs in the building. CCA's space within NEON was about 996 square feet along with some shared lobby space. The new CCA space is approximately 3,000 square feet, allowing for increased food storage areas and improved accommodations for clients.

"Since we are serving more families, having more storage allows us to take advantage of numerous offers of bulk quantities of food to better maintain a stable supply for our clients," said Christi Pope, Executive Director, CCA. "Furthermore, an expanded client contact area makes the process of asking for assistance more personal and comfortable for those in need, and we will now be able to offer our clients more services such as nutrition classes and financial literacy classes," she added.

CCA is also hoping to expand their outreach into the community and take the pantry 'on the road' to feed those less mobile, thus expanding the battleground against food insecurity.

Past Pepperidge Farm all-employee service days have included cleaning and beautifying Norwalk's Calf Pasture Beach and Sheffield Island, renovating The Carver Center and partnering with NEON (Norwalk Economic Opportunity Now) to renovate two local community centers, Nathaniel Ely and Benjamin Franklin. In addition, Pepperidge Farm has donated time and money to the community of Norwalk through various programs and volunteer opportunities such as Norwalk Nursing and Home Care, Norwalk Open Shelter, the Norwalk Hospital and the Norwalk Schools. The company most recently instituted a summer kids back pack program and completed its first year of Project L.E.A.N., an initiative Pepperidge Farm is co-leading with the City of Norwalk and Norwalk Hospital, to reduce the rate of childhood obesity among students at Norwalk's Jefferson Elementary School.

Pepperidge Farm's contribution to the Norwalk Community has been recognized by awards from NEON, the Human Services Council, The Carver Foundation of Norwalk and induction into the Chairman's Circle of the United Way of Norwalk and Wilton.

About Pepperidge Farm

Pepperidge Farm, Incorporated, based in Norwalk, Connecticut, is a leading provider of premium quality fresh bakery products, cookies, crackers, and frozen foods. The company was named the number one place to work in Connecticut in the large companies category of the Best Places to Work in Connecticut competition for 2009. Among the company's most popular products are Chocolate Chunk and Milano(R) cookies, Goldfish(R) crackers, and more than 50 varieties of fresh baked breads including Swirl, Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse(TM), 100% Natural and Whole Grain.

Pepperidge Farm was founded in Connecticut in 1937 by Margaret Rudkin, an entrepreneurial homemaker who began baking fresh, all-natural bread for her allergic son. The company is now a nationwide business with 8 manufacturing facilities, almost 5,000 employees, almost 4,000 independent distributorships, and over $1 billion in sales. Pepperidge Farm has been part of the Campbell Soup Company since 1961.