Darden Restaurants donates use of refrigerated truck, $26K to Food Bank of North Alabama

MADISON – The Food Bank of North Alabama has received the use of a refrigerated truck, along with $26,000 to pay for additional food or expenses, from Darden Restaurants.

Darden’s family of restaurants includes full-service dining at Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, Yard House, The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze, among others.

Darden’s recent donation is associated with Feeding America’s goal to add refrigerated trucks for 10 food banks to support communities with the highest need. Each food bank, like the one for North Alabama with operations in Huntsville, received use of a 26-foot vehicle capable of transporting 12,000 pounds of food and $26,000, thanks to a $2-million grant from Darden Restaurants Inc. Foundation with support from partners Penske Truck Leasing and Lineage Logistics.

“We’re so fortunate to receive this grant and so thankful for corporate partners that believe in giving back to the community,” Bobby Bozeman said. He is Development Director for Food Bank of North Alabama.

“This specifically is aimed at boosting our mobile pantries. These refrigerated trucks will allow us to distribute various foods directly into communities that are fighting to overcome food insecurity. Having access to a refrigerated truck means we can more easily take fresh produce and dairy into these communities, providing better, healthier, fresher foods,” Bozeman said.

“Having been out to many of these mobile pantries myself, I can tell you that many of the people we serve are often working people raising young families. Kids can’t go to school, learn, grow and excel if they’re hungry,” Bozeman said. “Those kids are going to grow up to be our neighbors, our community members. To have a prosperous, vibrant community, our children can’t grow up worrying about not having enough to eat or where their next meal is going to come from.”

Many people are food insecure, meaning they don’t know where they’ll get their next meal, Executive Director Shirley Schofield said. “Being able to offer healthy options for people who (are) diabetic or hypertensive means we’re meeting our community where they are. And a truck like this greatly increases our capacity to offer those things,” Bozeman said.

In addition to Huntsville, locations receiving the gifts include Birmingham and Theodore, Ala.; Tyler and Forth Worth, Texas; Jacksonville and Tampa, Fla.; Monroe, La.; Detroit, Mich., and Jackson, Miss.

For more information, visit darden.com or feedingamerica.org.

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