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EPA Recognizes Philabundance During Earth Week for Sustainable Grocers Against Hunger Initiative

Philadelphia, Pa., April 20, 2011- Philabundance, the Delaware Valley’s largest hunger relief organization, has signed on as a Sustainability Partner with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA is also highlighting Philabundance’s sustainable Grocers Against Hunger program during Earth week.

Grocers Against Hunger (GAH) program is an innovative initiative that enables participating grocers to donate food to those in need. A win win situation that saves grocers the cost of clearing out inventory, prevents unnecessary food waste from filling our landfills while feeding neighbors who need it most. The program produces minimal organic waste and is both environmentally and socially responsible.

“On behalf of Philabundance, I am so very pleased to be partnering with the Environmental Protection Agency and working to make Philabundance a more sustainable non-profit,” said Bill Clark, president and executive director of Philabundance. “Grocers Against Hunger is our most sustainable program and we are honored to be recognized for our efforts in combining social and environmental responsibilities.”

“EPA welcomes Philabundance as a Sustainability Partner.  The good work they do to provide nutritious food for those at risk in the Philadelphia area has never been needed more than in these tough economic times,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “Although we’ve collaborated with Philabundance for more than five years in EPA office-wide food drives, the partnership that begins today has the potential to create substantial savings by allowing Philabundance to direct more dollars to the dinner tables of those in need.”

Grocers Against Hunger was established in 2009, and works with grocers to gain access to expensive and difficult to obtain items such as frozen meat, dairy and produce. Because of the GAH program, in Fiscal Year 2010 Philabundance was able to collect 1,543,074 lbs of food from participating grocers. That is equivalent to more than 1.5 million meals that were distributed to our neighbors in need in the Delaware Valley. Philabundance’s fleet of refrigerated trucks transports donated product, following all necessary food handling guidelines. Grocers Against Hunger is Philabundance’s fastest growing source of donated food.

GAH exemplifies green business practices by redistributing food products that would unnecessarily be disposed of. The Environmental Protection Agency uses a food waste recovery hierarchy to help businesses with high volumes of food waste scale down and manage their surplus. The hierarchy suggests that businesses first reduce their food waste through source reduction then feed hungry people by donating extra food to food banks and soup kitchens. Feed animals, industrial use, composting and landfills are final resorts. GAH assists grocers in following through with the EPA suggestions by actively picking up the surplus foods.

To further develop the sustainability of the GAH program, Wilmington Organic Recycling Center (WORC), already an EPA Sustainability Partner, works with Philabundance to haul organic-waste to their location and create a beneficial product like topsoil and compost.

The EPA’s Sustainability Partnership began in 2009, to assist major organizations to become more sustainable through a holistic approach to “going green.” The sustainability Partnership encourages broad multimedia assessment and action to help an organization become more sustainable. The Sustainability Partnership provides an opportunity for collaboration with EPA, state agencies and other entities that are on the cutting edge of innovation in sustainability.

For more information on Philabundance and the Grocers Against Hunger Program, please visit us at www.philabundance.org.

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About Philabundance
Philabundance reduces hunger and food insecurity in the Delaware Valley by providing food access to people in need in partnership with organizations and individuals. Philabundance provides a full plate of services to close to 500 member agencies in 9 counties, who serve approximately 65,000 people per week at an aggregate cost of 50 cents per meal. There are more than 900,000 people in the Delaware Valley who are at risk for chronic hunger and malnutrition. In 2010, Philabundance distributed 21 million pounds of food. For more information about Philabundance, visit www.philabundance.orgcor or call 215-339-0900.

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