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Perfetti Van Melle donates 23,000 lbs. of candy as part of Ky. Department of Agriculture Hunger Initiative

Commissioner of Agriculture Dr. Ryan Quarles spoke about the importance of adding an element of sweet surprise to food-insecure families when they receive food bank donations during a ceremony at God’s Pantry Food Bank in Winchester Thursday. At left is Perfetti Van Melle Communications Manager Holly Ingram. (Photo from Ky. Dept. of Agriculture)

A “sweet” donation is bringing smiles to people across the state thanks to a delivery from Perfetti Van Melle North America, maker of candies such as Airheads, Mentos, and more as part of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Kentucky Hunger Initiative.

The candy manufacturer announced the donation of more than 23,000 pounds of candy to God’s Pantry Food Bank in Winchester on Thursday. Perfetti Van Melle made a similar donation to Feeding America Kentucky’s Heartland in Elizabethtown. The donation comes in September, the month in which the nation kicks off Hunger Action Month.

“Oftentimes through our Kentucky Hunger Initiative, we are highlighting donations of fresh, Kentucky farm produce to our food-insecure families,” Commissioner Dr. Ryan Quarles said. “But it’s important to make sure that we go an extra mile every now and then and add an element of surprise that will put a smile on people’s faces. That’s important, too.”

The privately-owned global candy company is headquartered in Italy and the Netherlands, but its U.S. operations are solely based out of Erlanger. The full truckload donation contained 2,144 cases at more than 23,000 pounds of the company’s most beloved brands including Airheads and Mentos candies, gum, and mint products marketed in the U.S.

“We love that we have a special privilege of bringing smiles and moments of joy with our brands,” said Sylvia Buxton, President and CEO of Perfetti Van Melle North America. “Serving our community is a part of who we are. We believe everyone should have access to an occasional treat like our Airheads and Mentos products. With our U.S. operations based in Kentucky, we’re thrilled to partner with the Kentucky Hunger Initiative to bring some of that sweet joy to the state’s food bank clients.”

“With all the hardship families have faced this past year, Kentuckians facing food insecurity deserve something sweet,” said Karena Cash, Director of Advocacy at Feeding Kentucky. “We are grateful for Perfetti Van Melle North America’s generous donation and the ability to give the almost 1 in 7 Kentuckians we serve something to smile about. As always, the Hunger Initiative started by Commissioner Quarles in 2016 continues to deliver for Kentuckians in need.”

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Hunger Initiative is a first-of-its-kind effort in Kentucky launched in 2016 by Commissioner Quarles to bring together farmers, charitable organizations, faith groups, community leaders, and government entities to reduce hunger in Kentucky.

Kentucky Department of Agriculture

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