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Over the 20+ years that I have worked at this Association, I have seen many events/products/services come and go. Some have been more successful than others, but all were undertaken with the right goal of helping member companies be more successful in their business. That said, there is one area of work at FPSA that follows a different path. This is FPSA’s Giving Back program which was designed to support industry causes with the goal of helping to move this industry and its people forward.

FPSA has been giving back to the industry for over 25 years now, starting with the MISA Scholarship for highly qualified undergraduate and graduate students studying meat sciences or engineering. Since the launch of this scholarship, FPSA and the members of the MISA Council have provided over 150 scholarships to deserving individuals who would go on to enter the industry and put their studies to use, improving food safety, developing new products, and improving productivity and efficiency in the companies where they would go on to work.

In more recent years, FPSA would add DEFEAT HUNGER, Bake for Life and the Career Development Scholarship to the Giving Back program. These programs were built to address food insecurity; provide career opportunities as bakers for handicapped individuals in Africa; and support FPSA member families in their pursuit of higher education, respectively. To date, these efforts would generate 1.6 million meals for the people of Cook County; contribute to the construction of bakeries in multiple countries and training of hundreds of individuals; and help hundreds of young people in obtaining a college degree and building a foundation for their careers. While FPSA is extremely proud of these accomplishments, the Giving Back program would take a significant leap forward in 2019 when FPSA’s Industry Councils would each step up to join MISA in supporting a charitable cause of their own.

The Pet Food Council now partners with the American Humane Society and 1 Soldier 1 Dog 1 Team, in providing support to US veterans dealing with PTSD. The Prepared Foods Council is working with both UC Davis and Michigan State University in an effort to further research for the food industry. The Beverage Council is working closely with FPSA’s Women’s Alliance Network to provide scholarships for online training and professional development to employees at member companies. The Bakery Council is working with Greyston Bakery to provide training and employment opportunities for the underserved in the New York City area. And finally, the Dairy Council launched the Tom Imbordino Dairy Science Scholarship, in an effort to support college students studying dairy sciences as they move towards a successful career in this industry.

Even more impressive than all of these causes, is the support of the many FPSA members that have developed these programs, donated items for the FPSA Auction to generate funds for each, and of course, participate in the Auction itself by bidding on these same items. It is this generous collaboration of FPSA members that makes Giving Back possible.

I am writing this on the day that the 2021 FPSA Auction begins (at least the silent auction portion). Unlike in previous years, when this event was face-to-face, this year’s Auction is virtual and therefore open to anyone who is interested, provided they register. This can be done on the Auction portal where one will also get to see the 70+ items included in this year’s event.

The silent auction runs until 1 PM ET on Friday, May 21st. The live Auction which will be hosted by Auctioneer and Comedian, James Cunningham, will take place on Thursday, May 20th from 8:00-9:00 PM ET.

I highly encourage you to sign up for the Auction. It’s for several good causes as I mentioned and there are many fun items to be had. Sign up today!

Andy Drennan, FPSA SVP