A leader in animal protein production announced Monday a donation of nearly $5 million aimed to help food banks struggling with increased prices.

Cargill donated $4.9 million to member food banks within the Feeding America network. The company said $1.9 million of the donation will go specifically toward ensuring Americans have easier access to protein.

The donation, which supports the North American Meat Institute Protein Pact for the People, Animals and Climate of Tomorrow, will be used to create and/or optimize "protein pack rooms" to refrigerate, store, and allow workers to repackage protein for individual needs. "A 30' x 40' pack room has the potential to prepare 300,000 pounds of bulk protein per year," Cargill said.

"More than 38 million people in America face hunger. As food and transportation costs continue to rise across the country, protein remains a high-need food item and food banks are feeling that demand," Erika Thiem, Feeding America's chief supply chain officer, said in a press release. "Feeding America is grateful for the generous contribution from Cargill and for NAMI's support through their Protein PACT as we strive to close the protein gap and provide neighbors with the nutrition needed to thrive now and into the future."

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Cargill said the remaining $3 million of the $4.9 million will be used for food bank grants within the company’s markets and will be invested in Cargill’s legacy food safety and disaster relief programs. Food bank grants will place an emphasis on supporting rural communities and communities of color impacted by food insecurity.

"Filling the 'protein gap' and ensuring families in need have access to enough nutrient-dense meat is essential to ending hunger in the United States," NAMI President and CEO Julie Anna Potts said in a press release. "Food security is key to NAMI's Protein PACT vision for 2030, and Cargill's contribution demonstrates the considerable achievements underway."

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