Through its “Food for Good” initiative, PepsiCo expects to deliver over 5 million healthy servings to low-income kids this year. The 2014 summer push kicked off on June 9 serving over 25,000 meals across the country on the first day.
The need for this program is urgent—and growing.
One in five children in the U.S. struggle with hunger. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), more than 23 million Americans live in “food deserts”—geographic areas where fresh, healthy and affordable food is difficult to access.
That’s why PepsiCo set out to create scalable solutions to address nutrition and poverty in inner-city communities. The current models include summer and afterschool meal programs, community-run farm stands, and other pilot programs to make healthy food accessible for low-income families year-round.
“When the school year ends, and most school cafeterias close for the summer, underserved children still need a nutritious lunch—and that’s where Food for Good plays a vital role in each of the communities we serve,” said Matt Smith, senior manager, PepsiCo Food for Good.
In 2009, Food for Good was conceived by PepsiCo associates – in collaboration with community leaders – as a way to try to address this challenge.
PepsiCo is leveraging its world-class capabilities—from food-distribution expertise to innovations in refrigeration and food preservation—to create a social enterprise that makes fresh, healthy foods accessible for low-income families.
The summer and afterschool meals that Food for Good distributes meet USDA standards and ensure a balanced diet with whole grains, dairy and fruits and vegetables.
In addition to Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin, Houston, Little Rock and Detroit, the program has expanded to three new cities this summer: Waco, Oklahoma City and Denver.