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Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - A nationwide network of Food Banks has awarded a $200,000 grant to the Rochester-based Channel One Regional Food Bank.

Feeding America CEO Claire Babineaux-Fontenot appeared with Channel One Executive Director Virginia Merritt this afternoon at the Bleu Duck Kitchen in downtown Rochester to explain how the funding will be used to expand the Minnesota Central Kitchen, a prepared meals program developed by Second Harvest Heartland in St. Paul, to the Rochester area. The project will combine the ability of the Channel One Food Bank to source donated and rescued food with the expertise of local restaurants in food preparation.

“We appreciate our partners like Second Harvest Heartland for working with us on collaborative programming and we’re continually impressed with our local partners for their willingness to innovate in order to serve the needs of our community. We look forward to seeing this program and our partnerships grow.”

It is expected that the collaboration between Channel One, local restaurants, and caterers, along with other community partners will provide the resources and expertise to distribute more than 2000 meals in Rochester each week. The Bleu Duck Kitchen, Powers Catering/Canadian Honker Restaurant, Forager Brewery, Early Bird Hospitality’s Cafe Relish, and the Jeremiah Program were identified as the founding partners in the program.

Any restaurants interested in joining by donating their kitchens, talent, food, or distribution capabilities are asked to contact the Channel One Regional Food Bank.

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