Rice-A-Roni, Pasta Roni help Chicago fight hunger - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Rice-A-Roni, Pasta Roni help Chicago fight hunger

Posted: Updated: April 2, 2012 8:25 AM CDT
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

FOX Chicago News explored how an Italian immigrant family's idea from over a half century ago is helping the fight against hunger today, and set the record straight on one of the world's most famous jingles.

The San Francisco treat is actually a Chicago treat. San Francisco is where the original family that created Rice-A-Roni set up shop.

But they've been making Rice a Roni here and only here in the Chicagoland area for the last 50 years. The plant is just a short kick away from Toyota Park in Bridgeview.

So what does Rice-A-Roni have to do with fighting hunger? A lot actually.

"Rice-A-Roni and Pasta Roni have donated about 195,000 lbs. of food to the depository in the past year," Greater Chicago Food Depository's Bob Dolgan said. "It's really an incredible donation for us, especially as we see the need rising in our community. We're serving about 60 percent more people than we did four years ago."

The Greater Chicago Food Depository distributes donated and purchased food to 650 pantries, soup kitchens and shelters in Cook County. Donations from Rice-A-Roni, Pasta Roni helped serve over 150,000 meals last year.

Jair Cole is the plant manager at Rice-A-Roni, Pasta Roni. For the last decade, they have been one of the top ten donors to the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

"Each month we'll contact the Greater Chicago Food Depository and let them know we have product available and they'll actually come and pick it up," Cole said. "So it's a sustained monthly relationship that we have."

"What's unusual about this donation is the sheer magnitude," Dolgan said. "This is a product category that we don't see as much of as we used to, in terms of our total distribution. Right now this gives us food that can go right on the shelf, distribute it out to pantries and soup kitchens and serve people in need. This is also food that's right in line with our core items. We need to make sure we have staple items like pasta and rice on hand at all times."

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