Did you know one in five people — and one in four children — in Metro Detroit faces hunger or a lack of food?

To address this issue, Bob Evans Farms has teamed up with Forgotten Harvest, Metro Detroit’s only food rescue operation, to help feed Metro Detroit’s food-insecure individuals and families. Through CBS EcoMedia’s WellnessAd program, Bob Evans will fund the basic needs of Forgotten Harvest’s Mobile Pantry Project at Landmark Church for a full year. This includes costs of distributing the food, sourcing the food, program implementation, and necessary equipment and supplies.

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Bob Evans Farms’ support will provide nutritious food to 350 underserved families per month, serving 4,200 individuals annually.

An event was held at Forgotten Harvest yesterday to celebrate the partnership and the impact on families in the community. Hosts of today’s event included Alex Gonzalez, Director of Field Marketing, Brian Dombek, Market Coach, along with Shelle Foreman, Above Restaurant Leader, all from Bob Evans Restaurants, and Marc Berke, Senior Director of Major Gifts from Forgotten Harvest.

Bob Evans Farms employees enjoyed a tour of Forgotten Harvest’s facilities and then volunteered by repacking fresh foods to be distributed to food pantries across Metro Detroit. Yesterday’s team set a new Forgotten Harvest pounds-per-shift record, packaging 22,400 pounds of fresh foods for distribution!

Forgotten Harvest relieves hunger in the Detroit metropolitan community by rescuing surplus, prepared, and perishable food and donating it to emergency food providers. Forgotten Harvest’s Mobile Pantry Project allows the nonprofit to serve more of the underserved and deliver fresh food directly into pockets of communities that have few or no emergency food providers. The Mobile Pantry Project is a very cost-effective way to distribute food to those who need it since it doesn’t require a building, significant staffing, or refrigeration on the agencies’ part.

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For each mobile pantry, Forgotten Harvest carefully selects fresh and healthy food at the distribution center, loads onto refrigerated trucks, and delivers to 69 mobile pantry sites. The Mobile Pantry Project rescued and distributed 18.7 million pounds of food in 2013, and will provide more than 22 million pounds in 2014.

“Our founder, Bob Evans, always said that we should treat strangers like friends and friends like family,” said Kevin Andrachek, Region Leader for Bob Evans Restaurants.  “Serving our neighbors is just a way of life for us and nothing pains us more than to see families not being able to come together and enjoy a good meal.  We love the mobile pantry for its ability to get to people who may not be able to make it to their local food pantry and to truly make a positive difference in their lives.”

This partnership unites a successful nonprofit driving hunger from the Detroit community with a family-focused company committed to helping to elevate and address the issue. Bob Evans Farms’ Hunger Free Communities is a BE Kind initiative that provides a powerful platform for raising awareness and supporting those who are hungry in its communities. In 2013 alone, Bob Evans supplied more than 10 million meals to its neighbors in need.

Bob Evans Farms’ Harvest Program donates unused food to local emergency food banks, including local agencies that partner with Forgotten Harvest such as Gleaners Community Food Bank, Hope Center, and the Salvation Army. In 2013, Bob Evans Farms donated 802,828 pounds of food which equated to a fair market value of $3,377,356.  In 2014, Bob Evans Farms’ donation to local charities exceeded $3,000,000.

“Without dedicated partners like Bob Evans Farms and CBS EcoMedia, we could not possibly keep our trucks on the road six days a week to meet the needs of the one in five people who face hunger in metro Detroit,” said Marc Berke, Senior Director of Major Gifts from Forgotten Harvest.

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“We thank Bob Evans Farms for their commitment to feeding their neighbors in need,” said Paul Polizzotto, Founder and President of CBS EcoMedia. “Bob Evans Farms’ support of Forgotten Harvest’s Mobile Pantry project will provide nutritious food to thousands of metro Detroit residents in underserved communities.”