FLUSHING, N.Y., April 19, 2012 – The New York Mets today announced the launch of “Feeding the Big Apple” presented by The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: HAIN), a season-long hunger relief initiative that starts tomorrow, Friday, April 20 with the first of 12 Food Drive Fridays at Citi Field. Throughout the season, Mets players will participate in the activities of long-time Mets partners City Harvest, Citymeals-on-Wheels, Island Harvest, Rock and Wrap It Up!, and a public service announcement raising awareness of hunger-related issues that will air at the ballpark and on SNY.
Fans can drop off canned or dry food donations at every Friday home game at the City Harvest or Island Harvest truck next to the Shea Home Run Apple on Mets Plaza in front of the Jackie Robinson Rotunda. Visit Mets.com/FeedingBigApple for more information about Food Drive Fridays and what fans can do to help.
As more people are affected by the challenging economy in New York, the need for emergency food has increased dramatically. Soup kitchens and food pantries served by City Harvest have seen an average increase in demand of 25% since 2008, and visits by children are up 35%. A sustained, high need for food has become the new normal for many New Yorkers.
“With thousands of New Yorkers going hungry every day we thought it was critical to find a way to help and bring attention to this growing problem,” said Dave Howard, Executive Vice President, Business Operations, Mets. “Our partners at Hain Celestial share our commitment for helping our community, and together with our fans and the leading hunger-relief organizations in New York, we’ll help feed the Big Apple.”
“As part of our ongoing commitment to provide ‘A Healthy Way of Life™’ by promoting healthy families, a healthy community and a healthy environment, we are excited to extend our partnership and work with the Mets on this important hunger relief initiative,” said Irwin D. Simon, Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer, Hain Celestial. “We are pleased to launch the Feeding the Big Apple effort with our leading natural and organic brands product donations to each of the Food Drive Fridays and to showcase our Sensible Portions® Veggie Straws, Terra® Chips and Yves Veggie Cuisine® brands with product offerings at concession stands throughout Citi Field.”
The Mets will support the initiative with 15- and 30-second PSAs with their players encouraging fans to donate food on Food Drive Fridays and help strike out hunger. The spot will air on Citi Vision at Citi Field and on SNY during Mets games.
For the past six years after every game at Citi Field, volunteers from Rock and Wrap It Up! have collected food for delivery to area food kitchens to help feed the hungry. The Mets and City Harvest have worked together along with Citi to repack apples and potatoes during several events for distribution to community food programs and serving thousands of hungry families. The Mets have supported Citymeals-on-Wheels with alumni helping to deliver meals to homebound elderly.
On Monday, April 23 at Citi Field, Island Harvest will host their ninth annual fundraiser with the Mets. Long Island’s largest hunger relief organization, which distributes surplus food to 500 community food programs, has raised more than $200,000 though the ballpark fundraisers.
“Feeding the Big Apple” Presented by Hain Celestial is part of the TeamMets community volunteerism initiative that uses the interest in the Mets and their players to encourage fans to join the team in helping others. To spread the word, the Mets produced a series of PSAs promoting NYC Service, Mayor Bloomberg’s volunteer initiative which positions New York City as the easier place in the world to volunteer.
About Hain Celestial
The Hain Celestial Group (NASDAQ: HAIN), headquartered in Melville, NY, is a leading natural and organic products company in North America and Europe. Hain Celestial participates in many natural categories with well-known brands that include Celestial Seasonings®, Earth’s Best®, Terra®, Garden of Eatin’®, Sensible Portions®, Health Valley®, Arrowhead Mills®, MaraNatha®, SunSpire®, DeBoles®, Gluten Free Café™, Hain Pure Foods®, Hollywood®, Spectrum Naturals®, Spectrum Essentials®, Walnut Acres Organic®, Imagine®, Almond Dream®, Rice Dream®, Soy Dream®, WestSoy®, The Greek Gods®, Ethnic Gourmet®, Yves Veggie Cuisine®, Europe’s Best®, New Covent Garden Soup Co.®, Johnson’s Juice Co.®, Farmhouse Fare®, Linda McCartney®, Daily Bread™, Lima®, Danival®, GG UniqueFiber®, Grains Noirs®, Natumi®, JASON®, Zia® Natural Skincare, Avalon Organics®, Alba Botanica®, Queen Helene®, Earth’s Best TenderCare® and Martha Stewart Clean™. Hain Celestial has been providing “A Healthy Way of Life™” since 1993. For more information, visit www.hain-celestial.com.
About City Harvest
Now serving New York City for 30 years, City Harvest (www.CityHarvest.org) is the world’s first food rescue organization, dedicated to feeding the city’s hungry men, women, and children. This year, City Harvest will collect more than 33 million pounds of excess food from all segments of the food industry, including restaurants, grocers, corporate cafeterias, manufacturers, and farms. This food is then delivered free of charge to some 600 community food programs throughout New York City by a fleet of trucks and bikes. City Harvest helps feed the more than one million New Yorkers that face hunger each year.
Founded in 1981, Citymeals-on-Wheels is a not-for-profit organization that raises private funds to prepare and deliver weekend, holiday and emergency meals to the homebound elderly throughout the boroughs of New York City. Last year, Citymeals underwrote the preparation and delivery of over 1.7 million meals to 16,500 aged New Yorkers. One hundred percent of public donations to Citymeals goes toward the preparation and delivery of meals for homebound elderly. For more information, visit www.citymeals.org.
About Island Harvest
Island Harvest serves as the bridge between those with surplus food and those who need it, supplying nearly 570 community-based nonprofit organizations on Long Island with critical food support to help stem the advancing tide of hunger in our communities. For more information about Island Harvest, visit www.islandharvest.org.
About Rock and Wrap it Up!
Rock and Wrap It Up! is the premier food recovery charity in all of sports. For the past seven years, Rock and Wrap It Up! partnering churches and pantries recover unsold concession food from the New York Mets. Rock and Wrap It Up! and the Mets sponsor Mets Snack Wrap! in schools, encouraging youngsters to donate healthy snacks and keep them out of land fill.