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Feeding America Announces $349,000 in Grants from the Darden Restaurants Community Grants Program

Nearly 350 Darden Restaurants Work Together to Award 111 Grants to Feeding America Network Food Banks

CHICAGO, April 30, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Feeding America®, the nation's largest domestic hunger-relief organization, announced today that the Darden Foundation, the charitable arm of Darden Restaurants Inc., awarded $349,000 in grants to Feeding America network food banks through its inaugural Darden Restaurants Community Grants program.

The local grants program is intended to help support nonprofit organizations in the hundreds of communities Darden and its restaurant brands serve. Every restaurant within the Darden family had the opportunity to help award a $1,000 grant to a nonprofit organization in its local community. The 349 Darden restaurants that chose to award a grant to a Feeding America food bank worked together to provide a total of 111 grants totaling $349,000.

"Each grant is more than a check - it is a defining opportunity for our restaurant teams to enhance their community and strengthen relationships with nonprofit organizations doing important work in every community we serve," said Drew Madsen, president and chief operating officer of Darden. "Our restaurants are supporting groups like the Oregon Food Bank that is providing essential supplies to combat local hunger, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas that mentors 500 students a week, and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation that is providing environmental education throughout New England."

"The Darden Foundation's Community Grants program is a great example of Darden Restaurants' commitment to giving back to their local communities," said Vicki Escarra, Feeding America's president and CEO. "Food insecurity exists in every county in the United States, and Feeding America's network food banks make efficient use of funds to get much-needed food into the hands of children, families and seniors. We thank Darden for their generosity."

For more information about hunger in your community, view Feeding America's county by county food insecurity data developed for Map the Meal Gap.

About Feeding America

Feeding America provides low-income individuals and families with the fuel to survive and even thrive. As the nation's leading domestic hunger-relief charity, our network members supply food to more than 37 million Americans each year, including 14 million children and 3 million seniors. Serving the entire United States, more than 200 member food banks support 61,000 agencies that address hunger in all of its forms. For more information on how you can fight hunger in your community and across the country, visit http://www.feedingamerica.org. Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/FeedingAmerica or follow our news on Twitter at twitter.com/FeedingAmerica.

About Darden Restaurants

Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI), the world's largest full-service restaurant company, owns and operates more than 1,900 restaurants that generate over $7.5 billion in annual sales. Headquartered in Orlando, and employing 180,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people. In 2012, Darden was named to the FORTUNE "100 Best Companies to Work For" list for the second year in a row and is the only full-service restaurant company to ever appear on the list. Our restaurant brands -- Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52 and Eddie V's -- reflect the rich diversity of those who dine with us. Our brands are built on deep insights into what our guests want. For more information, please visit www.darden.com.

The Darden Foundation

The Darden Restaurants, Inc. Foundation is the charitable arm of Darden Restaurants, Inc. The Foundation's mission is to maintain a spirit of volunteerism and philanthropy as defining characteristics of Darden Restaurants. Since 1995, the Darden Foundation has awarded more than $60 million in grants, with $7.8 million given in fiscal year 2012. The Darden Foundation carries out its mission by focusing philanthropic efforts and resources on the following program areas: Access to Postsecondary Education, Preservation of Natural Resources and Good Neighbor Grants.

    Media Contacts:
    Shannon Traeger Rich Jeffers Megan DiSciullo
    Feeding America Darden       Darden Foundation
    312.641.5717    407.245.4189 312.233.1363

SOURCE Feeding America

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