‘Uniting to Combat Hunger’ Campaign Raises More Than 50,000 Meals for Kansas City Residents

Veterans, supporters and the community came together to help feed thousands in Kansas City area

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The “Uniting to Combat Hunger” campaign – a collaboration between The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S., Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM), Harvesters–The Community Food Network and After the Harvest – has surpassed its goal of raising 50,000 meals for local individuals in need. The announcement was made during the Joint Opening Session of the 119th VFW National Convention held at the Bartle Hall Kansas City Convention Center.


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Attendees of the 119th VFW National Convention volunteer their time packaging food in support of the 'Uniting to Combat Hunger' campaign.
The “Uniting to Combat Hunger” campaign was established to raise awareness and fight food insecurity in the Greater Kansas City area. Defined as the lack of access to enough nutritionally adequate foods to live an active, healthy life, food insecurity contributes to poor health, lower productivity and higher medical costs. This societal issue impacts one in eight Americans and 14 percent of the Kansas City community.


Several community-wide initiatives contributed to the campaign’s success, including a volunteer day on June 6 when dozens of employees from the VFW and Humana picked a variety of fresh produce from a local Kansas City farm, which was ultimately distributed to area families in need. Area residents also got involved by donating non-perishable items to the 60 barrels located throughout the city, including VFW Posts, Humana neighborhood locations, Partners in Primary Care Centers, Harley-Davidson, Lockton Affinity and Hy-Vee store locations. The month-long campaign culminates at the end of the 119th VFW National Convention on July 25, with convention-goers bringing canned goods that will be donated to area food pantries.


“With food insecurity affecting one in four veterans, the VFW couldn’t sit idly by,” said VFW National Commander Keith Harman. “The VFW is honored to be part of this important initiative, but with so many veterans and families struggling to put food on the table, we won’t let our efforts stop here. We look forward to continuing to find ways to combat food insecurity in the future.”


“Humana is proud to have reached this ambitious goal and provide food to the Kansas City residents who are in need,” said Jeremy Gaskill, Central Region President for Humana. “No one should be food insecure – especially not the service men and women who sacrificed so much for our country. We will continue to combat this societal issue as part of our Bold Goal initiative, which is to improve the health of communities across the country – including Kansas City – by 20 percent by 2020.”


"After the Harvest is proud to have been a part of this initiative, helping to shine a light on the plight of struggling, food insecure veterans in our country,” said Lisa Ousley, After the Harvest Executive Director. “We'll continue our commitment to providing nutritious, fresh fruits and vegetables that might otherwise go to waste to those in need and seeking food access equity and healthy outcomes for all."


"Harvesters is very appreciative of our relationship with the VFW, Humana and After the Harvest in fighting hunger among our veteran population," said Valerie Nicholson-Watson, president and CEO of Harvesters—The Community Food Network. "This relationship ties well into our mission of feeding hungry people today and working to end hunger tomorrow."


The community can still get involved by making donations online or at local food banks. For more information about the “Uniting to Combat Hunger” campaign, visit www.vfw.org/unitingtocombathunger.


About the VFW: The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is the nation's largest and oldest major war veterans organization. Founded in 1899, the congressionally-chartered VFW is comprised entirely of eligible veterans and military service members from the active, Guard and Reserve forces. With 1.7 million VFW and Auxiliary members located in 6,400 Posts worldwide, the nonprofit veterans service organization is proud to proclaim “NO ONE DOES MORE FOR VETERANS” than the VFW, which is dedicated to veterans’ service, legislative advocacy, and military and community service programs. For more information or to join, visit our website at www.VFW.org.

About Humana: Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM) is committed to helping our millions of medical and specialty members achieve their best health. Our successful history in care delivery and health plan administration is helping us create a new kind of integrated care with the power to improve health and well-being and lower costs. Our efforts are leading to a better quality of life for people with Medicare, families, individuals, military service personnel, and communities at large.

To accomplish that, we support physicians and other health care professionals as they work to deliver the right care in the right place for their patients, our members. Our range of clinical capabilities, resources and tools – such as in-home care, behavioral health, pharmacy services, data analytics and wellness solutions – combine to produce a simplified experience that makes health care easier to navigate and more effective.

About Harvesters–The Community Food Network: Harvesters is a regional food bank and was Feeding America’s 2011 Food Bank of the Year. Serving a 26-county area of northwestern Missouri and northeastern Kansas, Harvesters provides food and related household products to more than 620 not-for-profit agencies including emergency food pantries, community kitchens, shelters and others. Agencies in Harvesters’ network provide food assistance to as many as 141,500 different people each month. Harvesters, which was founded in 1979, is a certified member of Feeding America, a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks, serving all 50 states. For more information, visit www.harvesters.org.

About After the Harvest: After the Harvest rescues nutritious fruits and vegetables from going to waste and donates them to agencies that serve hungry people, primarily in Greater Kansas City. Our volunteers glean after the harvest, picking what’s left in farmers’ fields and picking up already harvested leftover produce. The majority of the funds we raise helps secure semi-truckloads of donated produce that might otherwise end up in landfills. After the Harvest, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is the largest produce donor to Harvesters—The Community Food Network.  Learn more at aftertheharvestkc.org.