RALEIGH, N.C. — Last month, while planning its annual Heart Ball, the American Heart Association paid for 75 more meals than they needed—but they never received any food.
Instead, they became the first organization to participate in the Raleigh Convention Center’s “Share Your Meal” program by purchasing ‘extra meals’ to donate. Through the program, the monetary value of any extra meals is then matched 100 per cent by complex officials and their caterer, Sodexo Live!, with the total amount going to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina.
This week, that donation resulted in 6,000 pounds of produce being delivered to the Food Bank to share with 500 families in the region. That’s 30 cases of local sweet potatoes, 30 cases of large local cabbage, 20 cases of tomatillos, 30 cases of Roma tomatoes, five cases of jalapeños, and 60 cases of strawberries.
“The American Heart Association is truly honored to be the first organization to participate in the ‘Share Your Meal’ program, in conjunction with the Raleigh Convention Center. Sadly, it is estimated about one in seven households in the Raleigh Triangle experience food insecurity. The American Heart Association believes in the right to healthy food for all people to live their best lives. By taking part in this important program, it’s another way that we’re working to improve nutrition and food security for our neighbors right here in the Triangle,” said Anne Miller, regional executive director (Triangle & Eastern NC), American Heart Association.
The food was was distributed to the NC Fields program, a food bank recipient serving farmworkers and their families. According to the program, some 75 percent of those served in 2021 were people of color in historically marginalized communities.
“It’s a privilege to be able to support such a wonderful organization as the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, and we are honored to join the American Heart Association in making this donation,” said Kerry Painter, director/general manager of the Raleigh Convention Center. “When we give to the Food Bank, we know our dollars are going to help families right here in our local communities. There’s no question that our donations make a difference, and we hope others will join the American Heart Association in choosing to share their meals.”
“Share Your Meal” is the latest in the Raleigh Convention Center’s efforts to bring more sustainable and socially conscious practices to its operations. The venue boasts a 40 percent average landfill diversion rate by composting with Raleigh-based Compost Now. That compost is then donated to Camden Street Learning Garden, operated by the Inter-faith Food Shuttle, a local non-profit dedicated to ending hunger.