Exhibitors at the Summer Fancy Food Show in Washington, D.C., donated more than 135,000 pounds of specialty chocolate, cheese, olive oil, pasta sauces, meats and produce - enough to fill six tractor trailers - to area residents in need.
The donation to the Capital Area Food Bank, the Washington metropolitan area’s largest hunger relief organization, is helping to provide 100,000 meals to people at risk for hunger.
The food was collected at the end of the three-day event by 340 volunteers who fanned out across the exhibit halls to gather food from exhibitors from Egypt to Ecuador and across the U.S.
The show i was held June 17-19 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. The exhibit halls were filled with 180,000 products from 80 countries and regions representing the latest innovations from food artisans, importers and entrepreneurs.
In addition to the food donation, the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade, Inc. (NASFT), the show’s owner, made contributions of $30,000 to World Central Kitchen and DC Central Kitchen, anti-hunger organizations supported by Chef José Andrés, noted chef and culinary innovator.
Andrés served as keynote speaker and presenter of the sofi™ Awardsfor the outstanding specialty foods and beverages of the year. The donations were made in lieu of a speaking fee for Andrés.
During his address at the red-carpet awards ceremony, Andrés reminded the audience of food manufacturers and buyers that they have a purpose beyond selling popular specialty foods.
He spoke of the power of food to make connections and build communities and called on the specialty food industry to use that power to influence and educate consumers. "Make something you are proud of," he advised, and urged them to get engaged in fighting hunger and obesity. “We have to be bold in creating solutions," he added.
“Our exhibitors have a wonderful tradition of giving back,” says Ann Daw, president of NASFT. “José Andrés is a passionate advocate for ending hunger, and we are so pleased that we can help support his efforts.”
Lynn Brantley, president and CEO of the Capital Area Food Bank, said, “We thank the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade for selecting the Capital Area Food Bank to receive the recovered food items from the Fancy Food Show. Over 300 volunteers, including our entire staff, collected over 135,000 pounds of perishable and non-perishable food. We were able to provide over 100,000 meals to our neighbors who are at risk of hunger.”
The Summer Fancy Food Show moved to D.C. in 2011 and 2012 from its longtime home at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center of New York because of ongoing construction. It will return to New York next year, and will be held June 30–July 2.