2021 Shine the Light on Hunger results exceeded goal of 2 million meals


All proceeds from the 6-week campaign benefitted Food Bank for the Heartland

(OMAHA, Neb.) — Conagra Brands announced today that with the generous support of the greater Omaha community, the 15th annual Shine the Light on Hunger campaign surpassed its goal of raising 2 million meals by 453%. The final number, 9,104,469 meals, was announced at a press conference this morning.

“This year’s campaign was once again an overwhelming success with more than 9 million meals generated for Food Bank for the Heartland, which serves nearly 600 network partners in Nebraska and Western Iowa including pantries, schools, emergency shelters, and meal providers,” said Rick Hansen, Vice President of Human Resources for Conagra Brands. “Shine the Light on Hunger is truly a collective effort, and we are always astounded and impressed by the generosity of our Omaha community this time of year. Our local community leaders, businesses, and neighbors are the reason this campaign succeeds every year in meeting or surpassing its goal, and we are so incredibly grateful.”

Leading community partners in this year’s Shine the Light on Hunger campaign included: Baker’s Supermarkets, The Durham Museum, Holland Performing Arts Center, Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha Children’s Museum, Omaha Community Playhouse, Omaha Symphony, the Orpheum Theater, and Opera Omaha.

“We greatly appreciate our Baker’s customers and associates for once again opening their hearts to support Shine the Light on Hunger,” said Sheila Regehr, Corporate Affairs Manager at Baker’s. “Food donations collected at Baker’s went even further to helping those in need thanks to a matching contribution of $20,000 from our Zero Hunger Zero Waste commitment. We are happy to do our part to help our neighbors in the greater Omaha community impacted by food insecurity during this annual campaign.”

Once again this year, Park Omaha participated by encouraging the public to make monetary donations through special, candy cane-striped “parking meters” strategically located on sidewalks near businesses in the Old Market, Blackstone District, and Midtown Crossing. These “parking meters” accepted donations of both spare change and cards, with all contributions going to support Food Bank for the Heartland.

“Food Bank for the Heartland is honored to serve this community, and I thank everyone who supported this important campaign,” said Brian Barks, President and CEO of Food Bank for the Heartland. “Fifteen years of serving children, families, seniors, and veterans in the Heartland through this campaign is an incredible milestone. Shine the Light on Hunger continues to support our neighbors who struggle with food insecurity, which is critical as we are still impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are grateful to Conagra Brands Foundation; Spreetail; Baker’s; Mayor Stothert; the City of Omaha; Downtown Omaha, Inc. Foundation; Holiday Lights Festival; and Park Omaha for championing this initiative and to our community for its extraordinary support this year.”

Conagra Brands Foundation matched all campaign funds up to $100,000. Baker’s made a generous matching gift of $20,000 and the Holiday Lights Festival provided a gift of $12,500. Additional matching gifts were also given by Spreetail and friends of the Food Bank, for a total of $220,000 in matched financial donations.

The Shine the Light on Hunger campaign reinforces the significant commitment by Conagra Brands and the 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 non-profit 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.

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. For more information, visit www.holidaylightsfestival.org

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. For more information visit https://conagrabrands.com/communitygiving.

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, nearly nine million more than the previous year, helping to break the vicious cycle of food insecurity for children, families, seniors, and veterans across the Heartland. For more information, visit FoodBankHeartland.org.

About Dillon Stores Division and Baker’s Supermarkets

Dillon Stores, headquartered in Hutchinson, KS, is a division of The Kroger Company, one of the nation’s largest retail grocery chains. Dillon Stores operates 80 stores in Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska (under the Dillons, Baker’s, and Gerber’s banners) and employs more than 12,000 individuals. Dillon Stores Division focuses its charitable efforts on supporting hunger relief, health and wellness initiatives, local schools, and grassroots organizations in the communities it serves. For more information on Baker’s please visit our website at www.bakersplus.com.

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