Thursday, 7 October 2010

Dean Foods Foundation Supports Employee Volunteerism And Commitment To Fighting Hunger With Record-Making Pledge To North Texas Food Bank

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Thursday, 7 October 2010

Pledge Continues Hunger Action Month Work by Dean Foods Employees

Dallas (October 7, 2010) – The Dallas-based Dean Foods Foundation is continuing the work of local Dean Foods employees to fight hunger by making a record pledge to the North Texas Food Bank (NTFB). During September’s Hunger Action Month, employees from Dean Foods corporate offices and local dairy and ice cream plants pooled their time and efforts to help collect and put food in the hands of those who need it most. To underscore this commitment and the employees’ year-round work for the cause, the dairy provider’s Foundation is pledging $300,000 over three years to North Texas Food Bank programs that feed and provide nutrition education to at-risk children and youth. The grant is the largest corporate foundation pledge ever received by NTFB.

Texas has the second highest rate of hungry children in the nation, with one in four of the state’s children living in food-insecure households without access to adequate, nutritious meals on a regular basis. Research shows that hungry children have poorer mental health and overall health, miss more days of school, suffer greater rates of behavioral disorders and are less prepared to learn when they are in school.

“Dean Foods is dedicated to providing wholesome dairy products every day to families and children across the country,” said Chris Sliva, President of the Morningstar Division of Dean Foods and a NTFB Board member. “Giving North Texas children access to healthy nutrition and educating them on positive lifelong eating habits are critical services that are an ongoing passion for our employees and a natural fit for the Dean Foods Foundation’s support.”

During Hunger Action Month, more than 300 Dean Foods employees volunteered at the North Texas Food Bank, collectively sorting and packing more than 83,000 meals. Additionally, employees donated 3,740 pounds of food and enough money to provide 13,000 meals for hungry families in north Texas. These efforts included employees from Dean Foods’ offices in Dallas and Fort Worth, as well as Schepps and Oak Farms Dairies in Dallas and Southwest Ice Cream Specialties in McKinney.

Now, to continue that commitment, the Dean Foods Foundation will fund several nutrition education initiatives through NTFB, with a portion of the grant funding a nutrition toolkit to be implemented in the food bank’s Kids Cafe programs. Kids Cafes are an after-school hot meal program currently serving 1,500 children each school day. The donation will also provide North Texas children access to 1.2 million meals.

“The Dean Foods Foundation has proved again and again to be an ideal partner,” said Jan Pruitt, President and CEO of NTFB. “Through their Foundation, they provide much-needed financial support that allows us to serve more and more children in our communities. Beyond that, they donate product – including high-demand items like milk – and their employees volunteer in our warehouse, participate in virtual food drives and actively participate on our Board of Directors. We are deeply grateful for their commitment to our mission and now this amazing Foundation grant.”

Dean Foods and the Dean Foods Foundation have been supporters of NTFB for 10 years, providing critical funds, product, volunteer support and board leadership. At the 2009 Dishing Out Gratitude Awards, NTFB presented Dean Foods with the food bank’s core value “Do What is Right With Urgency” award for its strong, ongoing corporate partnership. In addition to Sliva, Steve Schenkel, Account Manager at Schepps Dairy, also sits on the NTFB Board of Directors.

“As a company that understands the importance of good nutrition, we are committed to helping wipe out hunger in our hometown and beyond,” said Gregg Engles, Dean Foods Chairman and CEO. “The work of the North Texas Food Bank resonates with our employees and our mission, and we’re proud to be part of helping to create healthier, stronger communities.”

About North Texas Food Bank
The North Texas Food Bank (NTFB) is a nonprofit hunger relief organization that distributes donated, purchased and prepared foods through a network of 1,146 feeding programs in 13 North Texas counties. The NTFB supports the nutritional needs of children, families and seniors through education, advocacy and strategic partnerships. Close the Gap is the NTFB’s 3-year initiative to unite the community to narrow the food gap by providing access to 50 million meals annually by 2011.

Founded in 1982, the NTFB is a member of Feeding America (feedingamerica.org). *Last year, the NTFB provided access to 37 million meals through its efforts. Each month agency pantries distribute food to more than 53,000 families and on-site meal programs serve 435,000 meals/snacks. Every dollar donated to the NTFB provides four meals for the hungry. More information can be found at www.ntfb.org.

About the Dean Foods Foundation
The Dean Foods Foundation supports organizations and programs that ensure children in our communities have access to the healthy foods they need to grow and thrive and that enhance their understanding of the importance of a balanced, nutritious diet – now and throughout their lives. For more information, visit www.deanfoods.com.

Dean Foods, based in Dallas, is one of the leading food and beverage companies in the United States and a European leader in branded soy foods and beverages. The Company’s Fresh Dairy Direct-Morningstar segment is the largest U.S. processor and distributor of milk, creamer, and cultured dairy products. These offerings are marketed under more than 50 local and regional dairy brands, as well as through private labels. The WhiteWave-Alpro segment produces and sells an array of branded dairy, soy and plant-based beverages and foods. WhiteWave brands, including Silk(R) soy and almond milk, Horizon Organic(R) milk and dairy products, International Delight(R) coffee creamers, and LAND O’LAKES(R) creamers, are category leaders and consumer favorites. Alpro is the pan-European leader in branded soy food products.

Media Contacts:
North Texas Food Bank
Paige Phelps, 214-269-8975; paigep@ntfb.org

Dean Foods Foundation
Liliana Esposito, 214-721-7730; liliana_esposito@deanfoods.com

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