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"At a time when food supplies are at an all time low at local food banks we thought a food donation that touched local and global communities was the right thing to do," says Bruce Silverman, Whole Foods Market vice-president of private label. "Through a partnership with these young entrepreneurs at Conscious Alliance, we have been able to diversify this contribution to support our communities locally through area food banks and Native American reservations as well as reach out to those affected by the recent cyclone in Myanmar."
Whole Foods Market is donating nearly $1 million worth of food to Conscious Alliance which will be distributed to the poorest local and global communities. Local food banks will receive the bulk of the donation through America's Second Harvest.
Conscious Alliance is a Boulder, Colorado-based national nonprofit that was founded in 2002 and is focused on delivering emergency food relief to the poorest communities in the U.S. With three paid employees on staff--all in their mid-20s--the group's initial approach to fighting hunger has been organizing "grass-roots food drives" at concerts and music festivals.
"Conscious Alliance began six years ago with a goal to collect and distribute one million pounds of food donations. Our relationship with Whole Foods Market has nearly doubled what we've collected through our Art that Feeds Project and has allowed us to complete our million pound objective," says Justin Baker, Conscious Alliance executive director. "We have been able to reach beyond the music community for donations and make an even larger impact than ever before. We're so grateful for their participation and generosity."
Native American reservations, which exist in six of the seven poorest counties in the U.S., are also receiving food allocated for children and elders. And, donations will help some of the 2.5 million survivors of last month's cyclone that hit Myanmar.
In South Dakota, Looks for Buffalo Foundation provides food to the Pine Ridge Reservation, where the closest store is two hours away and many tribal members don't have vehicles. "So many of our Lakota people go without food on a regular basis, and when there is food, it is usually government-issued commodities that are starchy, fatty, over-processed, and full of sodium. When we started distributing the Whole Foods Market food, people were so happy to enjoy such healthy food," says Natalie Hand, Looks for Buffalo Foundation co-director. "The Lakota elders say that it reminds them of how life used to be on the reservation, when everyone grew or hunted their own food and people were healthier. Words cannot express our gratitude for the healthy food you have brought to reservation."
Food donation distributions have just begun and will continue through the holidays staggered, based on need. Foods such as bulk and store brand items including canned beans, frozen potatoes, apple sauce, frozen berries, pasta sauces, and much more are among donated items.
"Thank you for the contribution of top quality food products. We now have a team of ten people in country and have a truck load of rice in Thailand to ship into Myanmar," says Dr. Ron Patterson, Christian Disaster Response executive director. "America needs more organizations like Conscious Alliance and Whole Foods Market, willing to work with other organizations to meet the needs of disaster victims. Together we can make a real difference in the lives of thousands of people."