The "Dump Hunger" campaign is back again this year to counter the annual January drop in donations to local food banks.
The 2013 Dump Hunger campaign launched Monday with its loftiest goal yet.
Western States CAT, Albertsons and Wells Fargo plan to fill five dump trucks and raise 375,000 pounds for community food banks across the Intermountain West.
The campaign has come a long way. In 2008, the Dump Hunger campaign planned to fill one dump truck with 75,000 pounds of food.
This year's campaign runs through Feb. 8 throughout Idaho, western Wyoming and Montana, and eastern Washington and Oregon.
Food donations to the campaign can be made at any Western States CAT location, participating Albertsons stores or Wells Fargo locations. Western States CAT and Wells Fargo locations also accept monetary contributions for the campaign. Donations made to Dump Hunger stay in the local communities, supporting food banks at the most critical time of year.
"While we're still closing out our December totals, our donations were down more than 75,000 pounds at the end of November compared to the previous year," said Carolyn Shewfelt, food bank manager at Community Action Partnership in Coeur d'Alene. "The snapshot of what we are experiencing is serving a lot more families with a huge decrease in donations, but we are doing the best we can with the resources we receive. Every donation counts."
Community Action Partnership in Coeur d'Alene has seen the need for food continue to grow, including an increase of 126 households in the past year, and currently serves more than 18,000 individuals.
"Hunger is just as prevalent today, if not greater, as it was when we launched Dump Hunger five years ago to support the communities we call home," said Western States President Tom Harris. "This daily struggle for many families doesn't change after the holidays."
Mike Clawson, president of Albertsons Intermountain West, said, "Dump Hunger has made a tremendous impact in our neighborhoods when food banks need our help the most."
Don Melendez, Idaho Regional president for Wells Fargo, said, "We take great pride in being a partner in the Dump Hunger campaign and helping food banks around the region start the year with plenty of food in their pantries."
In addition to customer food donations, Albertsons will contribute $10,000 in food items and Wells Fargo will donate $25,000 cash to the participating food bank partners involved with Dump Hunger.
While the need for food continues to grow, food banks are experiencing a dramatic shift in donation sources and types of food received.
Manufacturing overruns, excess inventory and canned food drives have been a substantial source of food in years past, however more efficient manufacturing procedures have decreased the number of shelf-stable donations.
While perishable food sources help fill some of the need, those served by food banks continue to ask for shelf-stable foods that they can store and use over time to feed their families.
Participating food banks with online donation capabilities are listed at: www.westernstatescat.com/dumphunger.