Nov 07, 2012 • By

An unplanned food donation

What’s the power of a comment to “A Taste of General Mills”?

Well, we found out it has the potential to feed hundreds of people.

Last week, Tim Kelley from The Community Pantry in Gallup, New Mexico, posted a comment about some General Mills products his organization was storing after an accident involving a truck.

Kelley addressed his comment to our Chief Sustainability Officer, Jerry Lynch:


We are a regional food bank in NW NM. From an overturned truck, we were asked to store 23 pallets of Yoplait, Grands, and refrigerator cookies. The expiration dates are at least two weeks from now. Today I was told by an insurance company that the food had to be destroyed as they could not contact anyone at General Mills. 23 pallets of food items would benefit my clients and help our mission of feeding the hungry. How do I get permission to utilize this food?

We forwarded that comment, and in less than 24 hours, General Mills worked to ensure the product did not go to waste. It will now go to feed hungry families in New Mexico.

“This situation was unique,” says Mary Jane Melendez, associate director with the General Mills Foundation. “Typically after an accident like this, the food recovered from the site wouldn’t go directly to a food bank. It would come back to our warehouse where it would first be evaluated for its quality.”

But instead, in this case, Kelley told us the towing company made the call to The Community Pantry.

Eight people were sent to pick up the 23 pallets of food which included yogurt, biscuits and cookie dough.

The Community Pantry in Gallup, New Mexico, works with 34 agencies to get food distributed to more than 5,000 families in two New Mexico counties. According to Kelley, the executive director for The Community Pantry, McKinley and Cibola counties are in what the USDA calls a “food desert.”

Food deserts are defined as urban neighborhoods and rural towns without ready access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food. Instead of supermarkets and grocery stores, these communities may have no food access or are served only by fast food restaurants and convenience stores that offer few healthy, affordable food options.

“The vast majority of our people live beyond 20 miles of a retail store where they can purchase groceries,” says Kelley. “There are only two population centers that have grocery stores.”

With Thanksgiving just a few weeks away, the donation from this truck accident comes at an optimal time. Kelley says it will make a considerable difference. It will add another 10 pounds per person to the people they are serving. Each month, the pantry aims to provide 79 pounds of food per person.

Kelley says, in this audio clip, the impact of the donation will definitely be felt this Thanksgiving.

Thanks, Tim, for letting us know how we could help!