News Release

Conagra Brands Foundation Sets 2 Million Meals Goal For Shine The Light On Hunger Campaign

Nov 17, 2021, 11:30 AM EST
Holiday Lights Festival, Shine the Light on Hunger, Conagra Brands Foundation

All proceeds benefit Food Bank for the Heartland food relief efforts

(OMAHA, Neb.) November 17, 2021– For the 15th consecutive year, Conagra Brands and Conagra Brands Foundation invite the Omaha community to help “Shine the Light on Hunger” this holiday season now through December 31, 2021 in conjunction with the Holiday Lights Festival.

“Conagra Brands Foundation is proud to continue its longstanding support as lead sponsor of Shine the Light on Hunger,” said Robert Rizzo, Senior Director, Community Investment for Conagra Brands. “Families in our community need our help and it is important to bring awareness to food insecurity and support local food relief efforts.”

The Shine the Light on Hunger campaign is a rallying call to leaders, businesses and families throughout the local community to support front-line hunger relief efforts and provide meals for those in need. All proceeds benefit Food Bank for the Heartland and the work they do to support and empower the community.

Due to the impact of the pandemic, food insecurity across the Food Bank’s 93-county service area impacts over 200,000 people. In FY 2021, the Food Bank distributed more than 37 million meals to children, families, seniors, and veterans in the Heartland facing hunger, 8.9 million more meals than the previous year.

This year, Shine the Light on Hunger includes an ambitious goal of raising the equivalent of 2 million meals to support the hunger relief efforts led by the Food Bank, a goal which can and will be achieved with the support of the Omaha Metro’s very generous community.

“The Shine the Light on Hunger campaign truly makes a significant difference for families throughout Nebraska and western Iowa,” said Robert Rizzo. “As people enjoy Holiday Lights Festival events, they can also help their neighbors for whom consistent access to food is not a given. Shine the Light on Hunger also helps create awareness about the issues of hunger and food insecurity in our community and provides a meaningful way for everyone to take action, whether it be donating a can of food, making a monetary contribution, or volunteering at the Food Bank.”

“This annual campaign is a resounding testament to the power of our community to provide health and hope to those in need. We are grateful for—and humbled by—the steadfast support from Conagra Brands Foundation, Spreetail, Baker’s, friends of the Food Bank, Park Omaha, the City of Omaha, Downtown Omaha Inc. Foundation, KETV Channel 7, STAR 104.5 The Christmas Station, and all who come together to make this season brighter for thousands of Heartland neighbors struggling to put food on the table,” adds Brian Barks, Food Bank for the Heartland President and CEO.

Tackling the issue of hunger is a collective effort and there are many ways for members of the community to take action. Donation opportunities include:

  • The public can make monetary donations by visiting FoodBankHeartland.org.
  • In a unique partnership with Park Omaha, the public can make monetary donations through white parking meters located on sidewalks near businesses. The community is invited to feed the meter to help provide food for those in need. Specific locations can be found on the Holiday Lights Festival website.
  • While grocery shopping at Baker’s Supermarkets in Omaha and Bellevue, the public is encouraged to pick up extra nonperishable food items and drop them in the blue barrels as they leave.
  • Local arts and culture organizations remain steadfast partners to collect nonperishable food. While attending a museum, concert or performance this holiday season, the public is encouraged to bring nonperishable food items and place them in the Food Bank’s blue barrels. A full list of drop off locations can be found on the Holiday Lights Festival website.
  • On Saturday, November 20 between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., the public can visit the Baker’s store at Lakeside Plaza and participate in a Stuff-the-Truck event. While you shop, at Baker’s, you can purchase non-perishable items to then fill the Food Bank for the Heartland’s truck stationed outside the store.
  • On Sunday, December 5 between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. bring the family to the KETV Drive-Through Family Festival at the Omaha Police Mounted Patrol Barn (615 Leavenworth Street – Omaha, NE) for free family fun. Attendees have the opportunity to donate nonperishable food items. Guests will remain in their vehicle and volunteers will collect the food.
  • On Wednesday, December 15, KETV will be hosting a “Giving Wednesday” in support of Shine the Light on Hunger and Food Bank for the Heartland. Viewers can tune in throughout the day to learn more about the Food Bank and will be encouraged to give through KETV’s fundraising page and the Food Bank’s website.
  • The Food Bank’s most-needed nonperishable food items include macaroni and cheese, peanut butter, canned fruits and vegetables, rice (bags or boxes), beans (canned or bags), pasta, pasta sauce, pancake mix, canned tuna, canned chicken, and boxed meals.

Leading organizations in the community are pitching in to raise awareness and donate food, funds, and volunteer hours through a communitywide hunger relief campaign. Hunger exists in every county in Nebraska and Iowa, and one in four heartland children is food insecure. Through donations, the community can help ensure children and their families have access to healthy and nutritious food this holiday season.

The Shine the Light on Hunger campaign reinforces the significant commitment by Conagra Brands and Conagra Brands Foundation to improve the quality of life for millions of families by taking action to impact the issue of hunger. Taking a year-round approach with nonprofit partners across the U.S., Conagra Brands contributes funds, donates food, engages its employees as volunteers, and helps raise awareness to mobilize the public to support food and meal programs for people when they need it most.

To encourage the public’s participation in the campaign, financial donations will be matched up to a total of $220,000. This includes generous matches of $100,000 from the Conagra Brands Foundation, a matching donation from Spreetail, and $20,000 on behalf of Baker’s Supermarkets’ Zero Hunger Zero Waste commitment, and additional matching gifts from friends of the Food Bank.

For more information visit www.holidaylightsfestival.org and click on the “Shine the Light on Hunger” tab.

The Holiday Lights Festival is produced by Mayor Jean Stothert and the Downtown Omaha Inc. Foundation, with media sponsors KETV Channel 7 and STAR 104.5.

About Holiday Lights Festival
The idea of decorating Omaha with holiday lights had been discussed by downtown advocates for many years. The occasion of the millennium provided the impetus for the project. In 1999, a coalition of city officials, corporations and foundations chose to present a legacy gift of holiday lights to the City of Omaha as the Millennium Lights celebration. That first year, more than 60,000 people came downtown to witness the lighting ceremony. The Downtown Omaha Inc. Foundation was established the following year to continue Millennium Lights as the Holiday Lights Festival. The Shine the Light on Hunger campaign, sponsored by Conagra Brands Foundation and in partnership with Food Bank for the Heartland, was added to the Holiday Lights Festival in 2007.

About Conagra Brands Foundation
Conagra Brands Foundation believes everyone has a right to healthy and nutritious food, while recognizing that food insecurity exists in every U.S. county. The Foundation partners with exceptional national and local nonprofits with high-impact programs located in the communities where we live and work. By focusing our efforts within five areas: Direct Food Access, Cooking Skills, Nutrition Education, Healthy and Active Lifestyles and Urban Agriculture, we are able to be a leader in the fight against food insecurity in North America.

About Food Bank for the Heartland (a member of Feeding America):
Food Bank for the Heartland is a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Omaha, Nebraska distributing nutritious food to nearly 600 network partners across 77 counties in Nebraska and 16 counties in western Iowa. Food Bank for the Heartland provided more than 37 million meals in FY 2021, 8.9 million more meals than the previous year, helping to break the cycle of food insecurity for children, families, seniors, and veterans. For more information, visit www.FoodBankHeartland.org.

Media Contact:
Maggie Winton, Vic Gutman & Associates
(402) 953-8676
mwinton@vgagroup.com