Pound For Pound Challenge inspires Greater Lafayette to lose weight to help hunger crisis

LAFAYETTE, Ind. — NBC’s The Biggest Loser, General Mills, Subway, 24 Hour Fitness and Feeding America are partnering on the Pound For Pound Challenge, a program that encourages residents in the Greater Lafayette area and Americans across the country to lose weight nationally to help provide hunger relief locally. For a second year, for every pound of weight participants pledge to lose, a pound of groceries will be delivered to a local food bank.

Challengers in the Greater Lafayette area pledged and lost a total of 9,701 pounds in the 2009 challenge. The goal for the 2010 challenge is to surpass that mark.

Recent data from the U.S. government shows that 10.2% of residents of the state of Indiana are “food insecure”, meaning that they lack consistent access to adequate amounts of nutritious food.   In total, more than 49 million Americans struggled to get enough to eat at some point in 2008, the highest total in 14 years, making it the ideal time to get involved in the fight against hunger.

“These are alarming numbers.  It is tragic that so many people in the Greater Lafayette area don’t have regular access to food,” said Katy Bunder, Executive Director of Food Finders Food Bank.

“At these rates, we all likely know someone affected by hunger and can help them in a big way by simply participating in the Pound For Pound Challenge.”

To join the Challenge, people can visit www.PFPChallenge.com or www.BiggestLoser.com and enter their weight loss goals. For every pound of weight participants pledge to lose, the Pound For Pound Challenge will donate 14 cents to Feeding America – enough to deliver one pound of groceries to a local food bank – up to a maximum donation of $800,000.

To wake up Americans to the hunger issue, General Mills recently committed to donate 49 million bowls of Big G cereal made with whole grain to Feeding America for delivery to local food banks. General Mills CEO Ken Powell, NBC’s The Biggest Loser’s Bob Harper and Feeding America president and CEO Vicki B. Escarra travelled across the country to rally Americans to join the cause.

“I’m so inspired by the commitment I’ve already seen from Americans to help those who struggle to put food on the table,” said Bob Harper, trainer, NBC’s The Biggest Loser. “More than 1 million pounds have already been pledged to the Pound For Pound Challenge, including 7,936 pounds in the Lafayette area alone and that momentum will only continue as we highlight the program on our show.”

The new season of The Biggest Loser airs every Tuesday night at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

Each person who pledges will be matched with a local Feeding America food bank nearest their residence, and donations will be delivered to those food banks when the Challenge ends. Participants who want their pledge to benefit other areas of the country can indicate that when they make their pledges. The Pound for Pound Challenge will donate 14 cents, enough to deliver one pound of groceries to a local food bank, for every pound pledged up to a maximum donation of $800,000 based on participation. Pledges will be accepted until June 30, 2010.

“Subway has long encouraged Americans to lead healthy, active lifestyles,” said Tony Pace, Chief Marketing Officer of the Subway Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust. “By joining the Pound for Pound Challenge, Americans can turn their own healthy commitment into support for a great cause.”

On the PFP Challenge Web site, dieters can also get helpful meal and weight loss tips from Yoplait, MultiGrain Cheerios, Larabar, Muir Glen, Eat Better America, Subway and 24 Hour Fitness.

“24 Hour Fitness is committed to helping people achieve their workout and weight-loss goals,” said Tony Wells, Chief Marketing Officer of 24 Hour Fitness. “There is no better motivation to stay dedicated to a healthy lifestyle than to join the Pound For Pound Challenge.”

With the rapidly increasing need for donations, everyone can do their part to spread awareness of the hunger issue and become a part of the solution. In addition to pledging to lose weight, participants can create a PFP Challenge team on Facebook, invite a friend to join the Challenge via e-mail, donate directly to Feeding America and learn how to volunteer at local food banks. To learn more and to join the Challenge, visit www.PFPChallenge.com.

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