CenturyLink collects nearly 500,000 pounds of food for Second Harvest

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - The following is a press release from CenturyLink about a donation they made to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee.

"CenturyLink, Inc. employees and the company's local communities collected 130,470 pounds of food and $402,298 in the 2013 CenturyLink Feed the Children Backpack Buddies Food Drive, which took place June 3-7 in hundreds of company locations across the country.

To further support its employees' efforts, the CenturyLink Clarke M. Williams Foundation contributed a $1 million match to local food bank beneficiaries through the drive.

Food banks can purchase food at a lower cost per pound than the average person could at a store, estimated on average to be six pounds of food per dollar given. Based on this calculation, CenturyLink employees, community members and the Foundation donated a total of 8,544,258 pounds of food to food banks across the country.

Locally, more than 494,646 pounds of food (including monetary donations and actual food items) were collected to benefit the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee.

"We're pleased to have partnered with Second Harvest to support their backpack program during this food drive," said Lottie Ryans, CenturyLink's vice president and general manager for western North Carolina and Tennessee. "We hope that our annual drive will not only provide needed food and donations, but also raise awareness of this issue here in Tennessee."

"Gifts like this are critical to our mission of feeding families in our area," said Rhonda Chafin, executive director of the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee. "We'd like to thank CenturyLink employees, the CenturyLink Foundation, and all those in our community who participated in the CenturyLink Food Drive for their generosity and commitment to assisting those in need."

According to statistics provided by Feeding America, the nation's largest hunger relief organization, in 2011, 5.1 percent of all U.S. households (6.1 million households) accessed emergency food from a food pantry one or more times.

Thirty-seven million Americans, including 14 million children, are receiving food assistance annually, an increase of 46 percent since 2006. That means one in eight Americans now rely on Feeding America and its nationwide network of local food banks."

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