Teams with New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids, Food Trust and Others; Initial Focus on Parkside and North Camden Neighborhoods
CAMDEN, N.J., Feb 16, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Campbell Soup Company (NYSE:CPB) today unveiled a plan to reduce childhood obesity and hunger in Camden, Campbell’s home since 1869. The company will invest $10 million over ten years with the goal of reducing childhood obesity and hunger in Camden’s 23,000 children by 50 percent.
Campbell’s President and CEO Douglas R. Conant said, “Obesity is a national crisis, but it is even more acute in Camden. We absolutely believe this important effort can nourish the lives of thousands of Camden children, both physically and emotionally, and help prepare them for a productive future.”
Nearly all Camden’s school-age children are enrolled in free school breakfast and lunch programs. Obesity rates for children ages 3 to 19 in Camden are nearly 40 percent, significantly above the national average of 32 percent1. Thirty-five percent of Camden children, ages 3 to 5, are overweight or obese, compared with the national average of 21 percent. Forty-four percent of Hispanic children in Camden are overweight or obese, compared with the national average of 38 percent.
Campbell’s plans focus on three areas:
1. Providing increased access to affordable, healthy food
2. Expanding availability of and participation in physical activity and physical education
3. Increasing nutrition and health education
“Thanks to Campbell’s $10 million investment to our children’s health and well being, we have a strong partner in the fight against childhood obesity and hunger,” said Camden Mayor Dana L. Redd. “Campbell’s commitment to the City of Camden and her residents is a prime example of what it truly means to be a responsible corporate citizen and partner. I look forward to working with Campbell and all our partners as we strive to prevent and eliminate childhood obesity and hunger in Camden.”
Campbell will collaborate with leading organizations, including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Food Trust, New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids-Camden, the Camden Children’s Garden and the Y, along with the United Way, Cooper University Hospital, Rutgers University, the Food Bank of South Jersey and others.
“We commend Campbell for exhibiting true community leadership in this program,” said Tim Kerrihard, President and CEO of YMCA of Burlington and Camden Counties and co-director of the New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids-Camden. “Campbell brings tremendous resources and credibility to this endeavor. Our work on the Partnership for Healthy Kids will make tremendous strides in eliminating obesity and hunger in Camden thanks to Campbell’s investment.”
Initially, Campbell plans to focus on the neighborhoods of Parkside, adjacent to its headquarters, and North Camden, launching the program in three elementary schools, Forest Hill Elementary, Cooper’s Poynt Elementary and Holy Name School. A church and two daycare facilities will also participate.
“We plan to concentrate our efforts on these sites in Camden and gradually expand to other locations until we have a city-wide program in place,” said Denise Morrison, Campbell’s Chief Operating Officer. “We’re excited about launching this important program, and, over time, we plan to extend it to other U.S. communities where we have operations.”
The program will be managed by Kim Fremont Fortunato, who joined Campbell in Nov. 2010 as Director of Childhood Obesity and Hunger program.
Access to Affordable Nutritious Foods
Working with its retail customers, the Food Trust, the New Jersey Food Marketing Task Force and the city, Campbell plans to support the development of a major supermarket in Camden, which is served by a single supermarket on the outskirts of the city, despite its 78,000 residents.
Campbell’s plan calls for an expansion in the availability of fresh produce, especially in the city’s numerous corner stores. Campbell will work with the Food Trust to create a Healthy Corner Store Network, based on the Food Trust’s successful model in Philadelphia. Store owners will receive equipment, technical assistance and training to help source, price, display and sell fresh produce profitably. This program will focus on the Parkside and North Camden neighborhoods and expand city-wide over time.
Campbell also plans to increase the number of community vegetable gardens by working with the city and the Camden Children’s Garden to convert abandoned urban lots into productive urban gardens, initially focusing on Parkside and North Camden.
Expanded Physical Activity
Campbell will fund in- and after-school activities through the Y’s CATCH program (Coordinated Approach to Child Health), a coordinated school-health program designed to promote physical activity and healthy food choices in children from preschool through eighth grade. It focuses on physical education classes and recess during the school day, as well as after-school programs and at-home activities. The company’s goal is to increase the frequency, intensity and duration of physical activity throughout the day. Y staff will implement the program at the six pilot sites.
Increased Nutrition and Health Understanding
In collaboration with Share Our Strength’s national nutrition education program, Cooking Matters, Campbell will help teach families how to make healthy and budget-wise food choices. Administered locally by the Food Bank of South Jersey, Cooking Matters will bring seven cooking-centered courses to Camden residents. Each free six-week course will feature hands-on meal preparation, basic nutrition, food safety, menu planning, food budgeting and more.
Campbell’s North America Foodservice business supplies school systems nationwide with products served at lunch time. Campbell’s chefs and dieticians will help coordinate classroom activities, including nutrition lessons, student-run fresh fruit and smoothie markets to teach students about healthy snacking, parent workshops and field trips to local farms.
Funding & Resources: $10 Million over 10 Years; Thousands of Volunteer Hours
Campbell has already begun funding the plan, making several investments to implement programs. For example, Campbell provided $75,000 to the New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids-Camden and $25,000 to the Food Bank of South Jersey for the Cooking Matters program.
Campbell anticipates that many of its more than 1,200 Camden-based employees will participate in the program, volunteering their time and expertise. Campbell estimates that its U.S. employees volunteer more than 16,000 hours a year–both during the workday and on their own time–to numerous projects in Camden.
Campbell is the longest-standing corporate tenant in Camden and the only Fortune 500 Company headquartered in the city. The company has long been involved with programs designed to improve the health and physical activity of children, including its Labels for Education program, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, the Children’s Advertising Initiative and the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation.
Through its “Nourishing” corporate social responsibility program, Campbell has been recognized for making a positive impact in the workplace, in the marketplace and in the communities in which it operates. Campbell’s Corporate Social Responsibility report describes the strategies, policies and programs and can be accessed at www.campbellsoupcompany.com/csr.
About Campbell Soup Company
Campbell Soup Company is a global manufacturer and marketer of high-quality foods and simple meals, including soup and sauces, baked snacks and healthy beverages. Founded in 1869, the company has a portfolio of market-leading brands, including “Campbell’s,” “Pepperidge Farm,” “Arnott’s” and “V8.” Through its corporate social responsibility program, the company strives to make a positive impact in the workplace, in the marketplace and in the communities in which it operates. Campbell is a member of the Standard & Poor’s 500 and the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes. For more information, visit www.campbellsoup.com.
1. Figures according to the 2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys and Body Mass Index (BMI) data collected from the Camden Public School District by the Rutgers State Center for Health Policy.
SOURCE: Campbell Soup Company
Campbell Soup Company
Anthony Sanzio (Media)