'Operation STEM-ulus' Launched Across USA to Help Buy Fruits and Vegetables for Needy Kids, Struggling Families in Tough Economy

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Proceeds from new Recipes from the Heart cookbook designed to help offset drop in local food pantry donations, help meet rising demand

Last fall, the USDA said 36.2 million Americans, including 12.4 million children, were 'food insecure' meaning they suffer from disrupted eating patterns and fewer meals because of a lack of money or other resources. And the problem has only grown worse over the last several months.

The nation's high unemployment rate, cutbacks in school breakfast and lunch programs, and the usual summer slump in food donations is prompting U.S. Foodservice to launch Operation STEM-ulus to help buy more fruits and vegetables for Americans in need.

"With the unemployment rate at 9.5 percent, a growing number of Americans urgently need our help and they need it now," said Bob Aiken, president and chief executive officer, U.S. Foodservice. "Last fall, the USDA said 36.2 million Americans, including 12.4 million children, were 'food insecure' meaning they suffer from disrupted eating patterns and fewer meals because of a lack of money or other resources. And the problem has only grown worse over the last several months."

The campaign was launched July 15 and will run through October 15 to raise money through the sale of a comprehensive 336-page cookbook called Recipes from the Heart, a collection of kitchen favorites created by U.S. Foodservice employees and edited by the company's culinary team.

The book's foreword was written by Paula Deen, known as the "queen of Southern-styled and home-style cooking," and host of a popular show on the Food Network.

The 386 recipes in the book are alphabetized for easy reference into categories: Appetizers, Breads, Breakfast & Brunch, Entrees, Vegetables and Side Dishes, Salads, Soups and Desserts.

"The cookbook recipes ranging from gourmet entrees to simple, fantastic 'stick-to-your-ribs' dinners," Aiken said. "One hundred percent of the proceeds from the sale of the books will be given to Feeding America, the nation's largest domestic hunger relief organization, to provide fruits and vegetables to food pantries across the country for kids and families during this summer."

Aiken urged consumers to visit U.S. Foodservice's website to review and order the cookbook. It also can be ordered by dialing 1-800-328-9800, between 7 a.m.-7 p.m., Monday through Friday.

While Recipes from the Heart is regularly priced at $24.99 plus shipping, the book can be purchased for just $14.99 plus shipping through October 15. After that date, the price returns to $24.99 plus postage. Consumers who purchase the cookbook will be acknowledged on the Full Plates Full Lives web site for their support.

"The cookbook is a unique way for people to help children and families in need in these tough economic times," Aiken said. "And the great recipes in the book will add new flavors and life to dinner tables across America."

About U.S. Foodservice
U.S. Foodservice is one of the country's premier foodservice distributors, offering more than 43,000 national, private label and signature brand items and an array of services to its more than 250,000 customers. The company proudly employs 26,000 associates in more than 60 locations nationwide who are poised to serve customers beyond their expectations. As industry leaders, with access to resources beyond the ordinary, U.S. Foodservice provides the finest quality food and related products to neighborhood restaurants, hospitals, schools, colleges and universities, hotels, government entities and other eating establishments.

About Feeding America
Feeding America is the nation's leading domestic hunger-relief charity, providing individuals and families with the means to survive and even thrive. Serving the entire United States, more than 200 member food banks support 63,000 agencies, including soup kitchens and food pantries, which address hunger in all of its forms. The Feeding America network supplies food to more than 25 million Americans each year - including 9 million children and 3 million seniors.

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Thomas D. Pagano
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