Foodshare's way of saying thanks to the companies that donate to its fight to end hunger was ready to hit the road from Rocky Hill on Tuesday morning.
The "Convoy of Caring" marked its 15th anniversary on Tuesday.
For the first time, Foodshare and the Connecticut Food Bank joined forces for the event. They said more than 70 percent of the food they distribute comes directly from food industry partners such as Stop & Shop.
"We could not do what we do without all of these terrific providers," Foodshare President & CEO Jason Jakubowski said.
For years, Foodshare has done the event to thank their industry partners, who provide more than 50 percent of their food donations. This year, the Connecticut Food Bank joined them.
"They have a choice when they are ready to discard food," Jakubowski said. "They can do whatever they want with it, and they choose to donate it to us and in turn, we're able to turn those into meals for people."
"The food has to come from somewhere," Connecticut Food Bank CEO Bernie Beaudreau said. "Without the cooperation of the food industry, we just would not be able to get the meals out."
Large-scale donations allow Foodshare to provide 25 meals for every $10 donated.
More than 430,000 people depend on the two food banks. Those involved such as Stop & Shop said they realize the need is great and they will continue to step up as long as it takes.
Here are the companies participating in the 2017 convoy:
The trucks involved gathered at the Sheraton Hartford South Hotel in Rock Hill around 4 a.m. Breakfast for the truckers was held at 7 a.m. After that, the convoy departed for Foodshare and the Connecticut Food Bank with a state police escort.
"They've always encouraged us to step up, help out, and if we can save one child, one family from going hungry, we're accomplishing our goal," Sam Cornwell, who is a truck driver for Walmart, said.
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