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Perdue awards Maryland Food Bank $25,000 to expand School Pantry Program

food bank
Bill Hetherington, fourth from left, executive director of the Arthur W. Perdue Foundation, presents a $25,000 grant funded by the Foundation to Jennifer Small, manager of the Maryland Food Bank-Eastern Shore Branch. From left to right are Susan Jones, director of elementary education for the Wicomico County Board of Education, Ron Willey, president of the Wicomico County Board of Education, Melissa Eiler, principal of Beaver Run Elementary School, Hetherington, Small, Dr. John E. Fredericksen, superintendent of Wicomico County Schools, Amanda Jamison, school social worker and school pantry coordinator at Beaver Run, Aly Dargan, assistant principal, and second-grader Alex Schmidt, designated principal for the day. WATCH VIDEO
Salisbury, Maryland (Sunday, May 19, 2013) – Building upon its commitment to fighting hunger, Perdue Farms presented a $25,000 grant provided by the Arthur W. Perdue Foundation to the Maryland Food Bank to fund the expansion of its School Pantry Program in Wicomico County on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

The innovative School Pantry Program establishes food pantries in schools with high levels of participation in the Free and Reduced Price School Meal Program (FARM). School pantries offer a reliable source of food for children and families in need and also address lagging parental involvement by engaging parents as pantry volunteers. 

The presentation on May 15 at Beaver Run Elementary School in Salisbury coincided with the delivery of more than 3,900 pounds of food by the food bank. The food was distributed to children and families at the school on Friday, May 17. The Perdue’s grant will ensure deliveries like this continue in the 2013-2014 schoolyear. 

“We are extremely grateful for Perdue’s continued support of this vital program,” said Jennifer Small, branch manager at the Maryland Food Bank-Eastern Shore. “Since launching a little over a year ago, the School Pantry Program has grown from two Wicomico County schools to six – thanks in large part to their leadership.” 

The program’s growth comes in response to Feeding America’s recent Map the Meal Gap Report, which shows that 13,270 people in Wicomico County are currently food insecure, uncertain of where their next meal is coming. Of that, 4,130 – 31 percent - are children. 

“The School Pantry Program is proving to be a powerful tool in the fight against childhood hunger,” said Maryland Food Bank president and chief executive officer Deborah Flateman. “Schools are trusted institutions that are part of families’ everyday lives, so they’re the single best place to reach children at risk of hunger.  We’re thrilled to have Perdue by our side, helping us serve many more children and families in need.”   

“Perdue and the Maryland Food Bank share in the belief that no one should have to go hungry in this day and time,” explains Bill Hetherington, executive director of the Arthur W. Perdue Foundation. “Through its School Pantry Program, the Maryland Food Bank is able to provide a valuable avenue to get food to families in Wicomico County who desperately need it. We’ve seen firsthand the positive impact it’s having in the community. At Perdue, we’re proud to help the food bank expand its network of school pantries throughout schools in the county through funding provided by the Arthur W. Perdue Foundation.”

Partnership To Fight Hunger
Both the Maryland Food Bank and Perdue have been fortunate to find true partners in the Wicomico County Board of Education and participating schools, which see the School Pantry Program as integral to students’ success.

As Dr. John E. Fredericksen, superintendent of Wicomico County schools, said, “Hungry students have trouble learning because they’re focused on where their next meal might be coming from and not on what’s happening in the classroom. Hunger is a concern for many families in our community, with more than 58 percent of our students qualifying for free or reduced-price meals. Our food service program ensures that they get two good meals a day at school, and now students at six of our schools, and their families, can be assured of good meals at home thanks to the School Pantry Program. The pantries are helping us work toward our goal of success for every student, every day.”

Ron Willey, President of the Wicomico County Board of Education, adds, “Schools are always looking for ways to connect with the families of their students, and the food pantries at Chipman Elementary, East Salisbury Elementary, Glen Avenue Elementary, Wicomico Middle, West Salisbury Elementary and Beaver Run Elementary are another way to strengthen that connection. Being able to provide families with food – something that is at the same time so basic and so critical for health and well-being – allows us as a school system and a community to support the success of students and families. We thank the Arthur W. Perdue Foundation and the Maryland Food Bank for partnering with us for the School Pantry Program.”

The $25,000 grant is the latest in a long line of support from Perdue and the Foundation, which funded the launch of the School Pantry Program on the Eastern Shore in February 2012, and also previously supported the Eastern Shore Branch’s refrigerator/freezer expansion; distribution of holiday meal boxes; and ongoing general operating costs.  Over the past 10 years, Perdue has donated more than $300,000 and millions of pounds of high-quality food products to the Maryland Food Bank, which serves a network of 600 soup kitchens, pantries, shelters and other community-based organizations across the state. Approximately one-third of these network partners is located on the Eastern Shore and served by the Maryland Food Bank- Eastern Shore Branch.

About the Maryland Food Bank
The Maryland Food Bank’s mission is to lead the movement and nurture the belief that together we can improve the lives of all Marylanders by ending hunger.  The Maryland Food Bank has facilities in Baltimore, Hagerstown and Salisbury comprising more than 125,000-square-feet of warehouse, refrigerator and freezer space. Last year, the Maryland Food Bank distributed more than 26.5 million pounds of food to a network of 600 soup kitchens, pantries and shelters across the state.  To learn more about the food bank, visit www.mdfoodbank.org

About Perdue Farms
Perdue Farms is the parent company of Perdue Foods and Perdue Agribusiness, and represents the Perdue family ownership.  Since our beginning on Arthur Perdue’s farm in 1920, through expansion into agribusiness and the introduction of the Perdue brand of chicken and turkey under Frank Perdue, to our third-generation of family leadership with chairman Jim Perdue, we’ve remained a family-owned, family-operated business dedicated to making Perdue the most trusted name in food and agricultural products.  To learn more about Perdue, visit www.perdue.com.

About the Arthur W. Perdue Foundation
The Arthur W. Perdue foundation, the charitable giving arm of Perdue Farms, wasestablished in 1957 by company founder Arthur W. Perdue and is funded  through the estates of Arthur W. Perdue and Frank Perdue. As part of our belief in supporting the communities where and with whom we do business, the Foundation provides grants on behalf of Perdue Farms in communities where large numbers of our associates live and work.  At Perdue Farms, we believe in responsible food and agriculture.


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