With the help of the KeHE Cares Foundation, show attendees were expected to pack thousands of boxes of food that would have then been distributed to local families by the Children's Hunger Fund last Thursday. The event was to be held in conjunction with the Community Breakfast scheduled to take place at Natural Products Expo West 2020, but was postponed because of concerns about the new coronavirus outbreak.
Fortunately, Children's Hunger Fund is continuing to partner with KeHE and New Hope Network to pack the boxes at its Sylmar, California, warehouse in a controlled environment. A group of volunteers from a local school started packing the food this week and the organization expects that all 4,000 boxes will be packed and distributed within the next few weeks.
"Although the boxes were not packed at expo, you are still making a huge difference for families in the Los Angeles metro area," said Anthony Kasper, director of donor care and relationship development for Children's Hunger Fund.
The boxes include staples such as pasta, grains, cereal and canned goods donated by KeHE supplier partners, including Walnut Acres, Arrowhead Mills, Cadia, Cascadian Farms, Annie’s Homegrown, Food For Life, Dave’s Gourmet, Milton’s Craft Bakers, Maskal Teff, Capitol Food, Jovial Foods, Noosh, Sahale, Miracle Noodle, Edward and Sons and Nutiva.
Exhibitor food donations
It's too early to tell what has happened to the food that exhibitors were planning to sample at the show. Some brands have taken it upon themselves to communicate directly with GES, New Hope Network's event production partner. GES handles donations for companies on an as-requested basis and is continuing to collect food from exhibitors who decide to donate the food that was originally intended for sampling.
At Natural Products Expo West 2019, 135,530 lbs were donated to Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County, which is receiving this year's food donations as well.