Kraft Foods and Feeding America launch mobile pantry fleet

refrigerator'Tis the season for giving! At least, the calendar says it is... but all the latest report indicate that charitable giving is on the decline now as the economic downturn forces us to tighten our purse strings more than in years past.

To try to combat that trend, Kraft Foods is teaming up with Feeding America, the largest hunger relief charity in the United States, to launch a new fleet of mobile pantries. Kraft is providing the charity with money to purchase 25 refrigerated trucks that will bring food to rural and urban areas where grocery stores and food pantries are difficult to reach. With three trips per week, the mobile pantries should be able to distribute the equivalent of 1.1 million meals per year.

This should set a spark under all of us as we prepare to shrink our holiday budget. We are still, after all, buying presents for our kids and pets. And while me may not feel we can afford to be as generous as usual when it comes to charities -- particularly food as prices keep going up -- we need to remember that there are people out there suffering from starvation. The donation of a couple cans of soup were easy to spare in past years, but it's not so now. Donations to food banks and soup kitchens is at a low point and demand is at a high, which is just a vicious circle as those who used to donate to the food kitchens are now turning to them for help instead, and charities across the country are struggling to keep up with demand.

In all, Kraft is putting $180 million into their efforts to combat hunger. If you have the means to help, think of your local food banks and soup kitchens this holiday season. These establishments can always use more volunteers to sort and serve food, and every donation helps, no matter how large or small.

Charity is the Star

    Scores of foreign workers break their fast in a Saudi mosque in the Red Sea city of Jeddah on September 4, 2008. Saudi Arabia, cradle of Islam, and other oil-rich Arab monarchies in the Gulf ushered in Ramadan, the Muslim holy month marked by an upsurge of charity and a slowdown in activity. During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and sexual relations from sunrise to sunset. AFP PHOTO/OMAR SALEM (Photo credit should read Omar Salem/AFP/Getty Images)

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    LIVERPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 06: MTV Staying Alive Foundation Ambassador Kelly Rowland attends the MTV 'Staying Alive' 10th Anniversary Press Conference prior to the MTV Europe Music Awards held at the Jurys Inn Hotel on November 6, 2008 in Liverpool, England. 'Staying Alive' is a charity dedicated to empowering young people in the fight against HIV/AIDS (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

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    LIVERPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 06: MTV Staying Alive Foundation Ambassador Kelly Rowland attends the MTV 'Staying Alive' 10th Anniversary Press Conference prior to the MTV Europe Music Awards held at the Jurys Inn Hotel on November 6, 2008 in Liverpool, England. 'Staying Alive' is a charity dedicated to empowering young people in the fight against HIV/AIDS (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

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    LIVERPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 06: MTV Staying Alive Foundation Ambassador Kelly Rowland attends the MTV 'Staying Alive' 10th Anniversary Press Conference prior to the MTV Europe Music Awards held at the Jurys Inn Hotel on November 6, 2008 in Liverpool, England. 'Staying Alive' is a charity dedicated to empowering young people in the fight against HIV/AIDS (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

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    LIVERPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 06: MTV Staying Alive Foundation Ambassador Kelly Rowland and Bill Roedy, President of MTV Networks International attend the MTV 'Staying Alive' 10th Anniversary Press Conference prior to the MTV Europe Music Awards held at the Jurys Inn Hotel on November 6, 2008 in Liverpool, England. 'Staying Alive' is a charity dedicated to empowering young people in the fight against HIV/AIDS (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

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    LIVERPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 06: MTV Staying Alive Foundation Ambassador Kelly Rowland attends the MTV 'Staying Alive' 10th Anniversary Press Conference prior to the MTV Europe Music Awards held at the Jurys Inn Hotel on November 6, 2008 in Liverpool, England. 'Staying Alive' is a charity dedicated to empowering young people in the fight against HIV/AIDS (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

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    LIVERPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 06: MTV Staying Alive Foundation Ambassador Kelly Rowland attends the MTV 'Staying Alive' 10th Anniversary Press Conference prior to the MTV Europe Music Awards held at the Jurys Inn Hotel on November 6, 2008 in Liverpool, England. 'Staying Alive' is a charity dedicated to empowering young people in the fight against HIV/AIDS (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

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    LIVERPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 06: MTV Staying Alive Foundation Ambassador Kelly Rowland attends the MTV 'Staying Alive' 10th Anniversary Press Conference prior to the MTV Europe Music Awards held at the Jurys Inn Hotel on November 6, 2008 in Liverpool, England. 'Staying Alive' is a charity dedicated to empowering young people in the fight against HIV/AIDS (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

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    LIVERPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 06: MTV Staying Alive Foundation Ambassador Kelly Rowland attends the MTV 'Staying Alive' 10th Anniversary Press Conference prior to the MTV Europe Music Awards held at the Jurys Inn Hotel on November 6, 2008 in Liverpool, England. 'Staying Alive' is a charity dedicated to empowering young people in the fight against HIV/AIDS (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

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    LIVERPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 06: MTV Staying Alive Foundation Ambassador Kelly Rowland attends the MTV 'Staying Alive' 10th Anniversary Press Conference prior to the MTV Europe Music Awards held at the Jurys Inn Hotel on November 6, 2008 in Liverpool, England. 'Staying Alive' is a charity dedicated to empowering young people in the fight against HIV/AIDS (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

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