JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – At a time when more and more families in Florida face the threat of going hungry, Second Harvest North Florida announced today that Chase will donate of two state-of-the-art refrigerated food delivery trucks, supplying the First Coast’s hungry with fruits, vegetables and other fresh foods. Chase also generously donated funds to operate each of these trucks for the first year.
The vehicles were unveiled at the Police Athletic League (PAL)-Franklin Street Center by Chase representative Greg Beliles. On hand to accept the donation were Lt. Derrick Mitchell, Executive Director of the Police Athletic League in Jacksonville, and Second Harvest Executive Director Thomas Mantz.
The PAL-Franklin Street location partners with Second Harvest on a number of programs, including the Kids Cafe after-school program, summer lunch program and the BackPack program, which provides important food resources to children on weekends and over holiday breaks during the school year.
The trucks will be used to collect and distribute food to people experiencing hunger or food insecurity throughout the 18-county area served by Second Harvest. In 2010, Second Harvest is projected to distribute more than 15 million pounds of food – which is the equivalent of more than 11.5 million meals. “Getting those meals to families in need has now become easier and more efficient because of the Chase truck donations,” said Thomas Mantz, Second Harvest Executive Director.
“Having two extra vehicles in our fleet will boost our efforts significantly and help us reach more of our hungry neighbors,” added Mantz. “We are deeply grateful to Chase for this generous donation and for their commitment to helping people in need. This is an important gift at an important time in our agency’s existence as we continue working toward new and innovative ways to get food resources into the areas where they are needed most.”
In the geographic area served by Second Harvest North Florida, more than 100,000 people are experiencing very low food security – or hunger. An estimated 31,400 people receive emergency food assistance each week from a food pantry, soup kitchen, or other agency served by Second Harvest. More than 170,000 people utilized Second Harvest for assistance in 2009. Since 2007, Second Harvest has seen more than a 53 percent increase in food distributed – a direct reflection of the increased demand as a result of the ongoing economic downturn.
Second Harvest distributed 6.6 million pounds of food in 2007, 7.65 million pounds in 2008 and 10.34 million pounds in 2009.
“We at JPMorgan Chase strive to give back to the local, underserved communities we serve in Florida, particularly when our efforts can enhance their quality of life,” said Greg Beliles, Business Executive, Chase Correspondent Lending Division. “These refrigerated trucks better equip Second Harvest North Florida to deliver nutritious food to our local Jacksonville community, and we could not be more proud to be part of this hunger relief initiative.” In the Jacksonville area, the Bank has over 3,200 employees.
Nationally, an estimated 5.7 million people receive emergency food assistance each week from a food pantry, soup kitchen or other agency served by one of Feeding America’s more than 200 food banks, including Second Harvest North Florida. This is a 27 percent increase over numbers reported in Hunger in America 2006, which reported that 4.5 million people were served each week. More than 37 million people—including 14 million children and nearly 3 million seniors—are receiving emergency food each year through the Feeding America network. The numbers represent a 46 percent increase since the last study was released in 2006.
Chase announced its donation in Jacksonville as part of a $5 million national grant to Feeding America and its nationwide network of food banks. This donation marks the largest single corporate donation that Feeding America has received from a corporation to date. Second Harvest North Florida is a member of the Feeding America network.
The national donation will support hunger-fighting initiatives, supplying 34 trucks to 20 food banks in communities hit hard by the recession. The trucks’ destinations include Feeding America network food banks in 19 cities and local communities nationwide. With the new trucks, food banks can transport up to 1.5 million pounds of food -- the equivalent of 1,171,185 additional meals -- annually.
JPMorgan Chase has given nearly $9 million to help food bank and hunger related programs over the past 10 years, not including the recent donation to Feeding America. Chase’s donation to Feeding America will cover the costs of purchasing and operating food delivery trucks in the following communities: Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, Denver, Ft. Worth, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, Mesa, Miami, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Newark, Orlando, Phoenix, Seattle, Tampa, Wilmington.
PHOTO CAPTION: (From left) Thomas Mantz, Executive Director of Second Harvest North Florida; Lt. Derrick Mitchell, Executive Director of the Police Athletic League; Greg Beliles, executive from JPMorgan Chase’s Jacksonville operation.
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Chase is the U.S. consumer and commercial banking business of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM), which operates more than 5,100 branches and 15,000 ATMs nationally under the Chase brand. Chase has 146 million credit cards issued and serves consumers and small businesses through bank branches, ATMs and mortgage offices as well as through relationships with auto dealerships and schools and universities. More information about Chase is available at www.chase.com.