This past October, Post Consumer Brands, Malt-O-Meal’s parent company, donated a whopping 5,700 pounds of cereal to the Northfield Community Action Center (CAC), a nonprofit serving Northfield residents in need. Because it was such a large amount, the cereal was initially stored at Bethel Church, and then was moved to the CAC, where it will be distributed. Carleton students and CAC volunteers assisted in the move.
Julia Braulick ’20, an AmeriCorps VISTA member at the CAC, said, “The mission of the CAC is to provide basic necessities to people in Northfield, although we now have some arms that go into Rice County as well.” This includes things like food, utilities and help with access to educational materials.
Post has partnered with the CAC before, but this is the largest donation they have made so far. Braulick helped unload the cereal initially and said, “It was a lot.” It came on pallets in a semi-trailer, and volunteers from Carleton and the CAC helped unload it.
One of the students who volunteered was Sarah Allaben ’21, a program director of the Food Recovery Network. This Carleton program works to reduce food waste on campus and fight food insecurity, primarily in Northfield and Faribault. Allaben helped move the cereal from Bethel Church to the CAC, and said, “It was a very impressive amount of cereal. Just boxes stacked really high.” The cereal was loaded into cars and driven to the center. The move was done in two days—originally, it was supposed to be only one day, but there was so much cereal, it was decided that another day was needed.
The donation has been beneficial to the Food Shelf, the branch of the CAC that works to combat food insecurity, although they are still deciding how they will distribute all of it. So far, some of the cereal has been distributed at various pop-up distribution centers. These centers are set up in parking lots, and because of the pandemic, food is put directly into people’s cars. Allaben helped at one of these distributions, saying, “I saw the cereal that we had moved go into people’s cars. It was great to actually see that cereal put into the hands of people who needed it.”
Braulick was unsure why Post was able to donate this much cereal, but said, “It’s great that they can redirect it to be used somewhere else.”
Jordan Gaal, a senior communications associate at Post, echoed this sentiment, saying when they have excess, “instead of sending that cereal to a landfill or having it turn out to be waste, [they] send that cereal to a community partner or a food bank because that cereal is still a good and edible product.”
Post frequently has excess cereal as a result of their sales process, Gaal said. Customers, which are primarily large stores like Walmart, place orders for certain amounts and if those orders are changed, Post ends up with the extra. Gaal emphasized that they always try to donate it, as “it’s a lot better than having it go to a landfill.”
Gaal said Post works hard to “create positive change for people and our communities. This includes product donations to organizations like the Northfield Community Action Center,” but is not limited to this organization. Besides the CAC, they support the Channel One Regional Food Bank, a food bank in Rochester; Second Harvest Heartland, a branch of Feed America located in Minnesota; Northfield Public Schools and other local groups. Gaal said Post tries to minimize the amount of miles the product travels so they are “impacting communities the most where we live and work.”