With food banks across the region facing increased demand and a drop in donations, Western States Equipment Company Dec. 22 announced the launch of a “Dump Hunger” campaign in partnership with local food banks in each of its branch locations in Idaho, Montana, Washington, Oregon and Wyoming.
The company-wide campaign runs through Jan. 23, 2009, and seeks to secure enough food to fill the bed of a Caterpillar 730 dump truck, the industry’s largest payload vehicle in its class, capable of holding 75,000 lbs. of food. Donations to the campaign can be brought to any of the Western States Cat locations throughout their territory.
“We could not sit idly by while food bank pantries in our community are running bare,” said Western States President Tom Harris. Harris said the “Dump Hunger” campaign originated when the company chose to forgo its annual holiday lunch and instead support this effort to help those in need.
Area food banks estimate a 30 percent increase in demand from this time last year, while donations have dropped 38 percent from corporate food producers who are increasingly clearing out merchandise through dollar stores and discount outlets.
Director of the Idaho Food Bank, Terry Graves, said that without the help of partners such as Western States, meeting demand for holiday meals would be extremely difficult. “Our pantry stocks are far too low to carry us through the winter, so Western States’ help couldn’t have come at a better time, we are truly grateful.”
Over the next thirty days, the “Dump Hunger” campaign welcomes donations of non-perishable food items from Western States employees, customers, and the general public. Western States will also match the dollar value of all the food collected with a cash donation of up to $15,000.
“Hunger doesn’t stop at Christmas,” said Tom Harris. “We hope the community remembers this season as one of charity and goodwill. We’re just doing our small part to make sure everyone has food after the holidays and into 2009.”
For more information, visit www.westernstatescat.com.