CHICAGO -- The Greater Chicago Food Depository, one of the largest food banks in the country, kicked off its annual Hunger Knows No Season promotion March 2 with five food retailers here. Last year, grocery stores and food manufacturers in the hunger-fighting campaign raised $360,000. Participating supermarkets are Centrella Stores, Certi Saver Supermarkets, Cub Foods, Dominick's Finer Foods and Jewel-Osco.
Manufacturers Sara Lee, Unilever, Welch's, Alberto Culver, Pepsi, Kellogg's, Land O' Lakes, Hershey and others will donate a portion of sales of 36 well-known products. Each manufacturer donates $6,000 per product to be in the program, which offers product exclusivity. The retailers match that total, contributing in proportion to their market share. For that reason, the initial total is already known to be $432,000, even before the donation from product sales is made.
Demand for food this year is up by 18%, according to Michael Mulqueen, executive director of the Food Depository. The money raised will help provide food for the Food Depository's 600 member agencies, area soup kitchens, shelters and food pantries.
The drive runs through mid-April. The manufacturers' promotions rotate among the participating food retailers over the period. About two-thirds of the manufacturers are repeat participants, according to Philip J. Skilnick, chairman of this year's drive. Customized bright yellow-and-green channel strips, aisle stoppers and freezer-case stickers identify the products in the stores.
Hunger Knows No Season was developed in 2000 by Food Depository board members and volunteers, including Skilnick, who is regional director, Advantage Sales and Marketing, Arlington Heights; Richard F. Hurst, senior vice president, Acosta Sales & Marketing, Lombard, Ill.; and Barbara Swanson, director of classified advertising, Chicago Tribune.