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U-Pack-A-Backpack Virtual Food Drive has Happy Ending

Fort Smith, Arkansas (June 25, 2008) —

The U-Pack-A-Backpack national virtual food drive ended on June 1, 2008 with several successes. The drive collected over $32,000 in matched contributions and another contribution from ABF U-Pack Moving® brought the total to $50,000. Through America’s Second Harvest, these funds will purchase approximately one million pounds of food for children and families in need.

Kay Lynn Clay, business development manager, ABF U-Pack Moving says, “Everyone here feels really good about this effort. The people we met across the nation who feed the hungry every day were so inspiring. The stories gathered from the food banks are powerful. It was an amazing experience.”

The program originated from the many requests U-Pack® receives to utilize the company’s ReloCubes™ for charitable donations. Clay says, “We just happen to have these big, metal, mobile container units — normally used for residential moving — that make great donation bins.” The company sought a way to gather food on a national scale. From America’s Second Harvest they learned that financial contributions go farther. So the company opted for a virtual food drive with funds going directly to America’s Second Harvest. ReloCubes went to participating food banks across the U.S. for collection and promotion. The ReloCubes featured graphics promoting the virtual drive. “ABF has a strong desire to be an ethical corporation that is a positive force in the community,” adds Clay; “it is a commitment that the company truly embraces.”

In evaluating the successes of the U-Pack-A-Backpack program, Clay notes that 98% of the contributions came from first-time donors to America’s Second Harvest. Clay believes this indicates an increased awareness of hunger in the U.S.

“Haul Across America helped bring community awareness to the plight of hungry children and adults in our area,” said Joanne Batson, chief executive officer of the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia. “U-Pack/ABF assisted us in collecting food and funds to feed our neighbors in need.”

The Haul Across America Tour, a cross-country trek to gather stories about hunger, brought a lot of attention to the problem. The tour stopped in 10 cities to share stories with the media and the communities. It ended in Washington D.C. where the collection of stories was presented to Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark. Lincoln is a co-founder of the bipartisan Senate Hunger Caucus. Media coverage of the tour put the stories in front of the public.

Ruth Jones of the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank says, “We’re most appreciative of the donors who took interest in this virtual drive and opened up their hearts to provide a little sunshine in the lives of children who are hungry.”

All contributions to the drive were received online through a donation site set up by America’s Second Harvest. The contributions, tracked by zip code, directly benefit the communities where they originated.

America’s Second Harvest – The Nation’s Food Bank Network is the country’s largest charitable domestic hunger-relief organization with more than 200 member food banks and food-rescue organizations serving all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The Network supports approximately 50,000 local charitable agencies operating more than 90,000 programs, including food pantries, soup kitchens, emergency shelters, after-school programs and Kids Cafes. Last year they provided food assistance to more than 25 million people in the United States. For more on the America’s Second Harvest Network, please visit www.secondharvest.org. Contact: Johanna Van Dorf 312-641-6646 or mkillion@secondharvest.org.

ABF U-Pack Moving provides affordable, convenient residential moving solutions. In operation since 1923, ABF Freight System, Inc.® is one of North America’s oldest and most reputable motor carriers. The project U-Pack-A-Backpack began in October 2007 to raise funds and increase awareness for childhood hunger. The program was originally created to assist school backpack programs. All of the funds raised go to the America’s Second Harvest network of food banks. Funds benefit the communities in which they were raised. For more information, go to www.upack.com or U-PackABackPack.org.

Kay Lynn Clay