Sept. 14, 2009
The National Restaurant Association is strengthening its support of food-donation programs with a new partnership with the Food Donation Connection (FDC), an organization that works to help foodservice companies reduce food waste and feed those in need. The association also recognized three U.S. senators for their efforts to fight world hunger.
The association is a longtime supporter of anti-hunger initiatives and a champion of strengthening tax legislation that provides incentives for foodservice companies to donate food to hunger-relief organizations. Through a national partnership with FDC, the association will work to galvanize the industry to donate surplus food while taking advantage of unrealized tax benefits of food donation,
"Our industry's nearly 1 million restaurants serve more than 130 million individuals each day, and by using innovative and effective food donation programs, they can serve even more," said Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the NRA. "The Food Donation Connection has expertise in helping restaurants turn their surplus foods into meals for those in need, and we are excited to partner with this organization. Together, we can truly make a difference in eliminating hunger in America while at the same time facilitating the donation process for our members."
Founded by a former restaurant executive, Food Donation Connection serves as the liaison between the companies interested in donating food and the organizations that provide meals to those in need. FDC has assisted foodservice companies with the development and implementation of programs designed to provide an alternative to discarding surplus food, while capitalizing on the economic benefits of those donations through tax savings. Since 1992, it has helped facilitate the donation of over 140 million pounds of wholesome, prepared food to non-profit, hunger-relief agencies.
The NRA will work closely with FDC to help recruit new restaurants and expand the reach of its food donation services.
FDC administers donation programs for Pizza Hut, KFC, Taco Bell, Long John Silver's, A&W, NPC International, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, LongHorn Steakhouse, The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Cheesecake Factory, Grand Lux CafÃ©, Smokey Bones, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Auntie Anne's Inc., Rock Bottom Breweries, Old Chicago, Chop House, Cracker Barrel and Walnut Brewery.
Congressional Leadership Award
The NRA presented its first annual Congressional Leadership Award to U.S. Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) and Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) in recognition of their efforts to fight hunger in the United States and around the world. The lawmakers were recognized at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. "As champions of hunger-relief efforts, Senators Leahy, Lugar and Lincoln have demonstrated critical leadership on this issue – one that is of great importance to the restaurant industry," Sweeney said. "We are pleased to honor their work to alleviate hunger by presenting them with the inaugural Congressional Leadership Award."
Sens. Lugar, Leahy and Lincoln are the founding members of the Senate Hunger Caucus, a group seeking bipartisan solutions to end hunger in the United States and around the world. In addition to their work with the caucus, they are also sponsors of the Good Samaritan Hunger Relief Tax Incentive Extension Act, a bill that would advocate for the 36 million Americans at risk of hunger and help more restaurants take advantage of a tax deduction for food donations and reduce food waste.
The NRA created the Congressional Leadership Award to recognize members of Congress who advocate on behalf of important restaurant industry causes and support legislation that help the industry to sustain its role as a job creator, a career training ground, and a cornerstone of the community.