<span style="">The New Orleans Saints and Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana officially launch the annual food drive this afternoon with the donation of a semi-trailer full of food from Winn-Dixie, and will be followed by an exciting Saints' themed family fall festival.
The kickoff event will take place today at 5:00 p.m. and run through 7:00 p.m. at the Winn-Dixie store at 8601 Jefferson Highway in River Ridge. (For directions, please click [here.](http://www.mapquest.com/maps?city=River Ridge&state=LA&address=8601 Jefferson Highway))
New Orleans Saints Owner/Executive Vice President Rita Benson LeBlanc will be accompanied by members of the Saints and Saintsations at the event, as will Natalie Jayroe, the President and CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank, and Joey Medina, the regional Vice President for Winn-Dixie.
Today's kickoff event will commence with the official presentation of a black semi-trailer loaded with 31,200 pounds of food that is being donated to the Second harvest Food Bank, and the members of the Saints and Saintsation will be on hand to sign autograph and takes pictures with fans that come out to support the food drive. Attendees at this evening's fall festive will be able to partake in elements of the Saints' Experience to entertain children and adults, alike. In addition there will be face painters, balloon artists, a magician and more in attendance.
Fans that donate food items at today's fan festival will also be eligible to win a Saints jersey autographed by RB Reggie Bush.
This afternoon's event kicks off a three-campaign that will run through October 12. All 31 New Orleans-area Winn-Dixie stores are being stocked with special barrels to collect non-perishable food items for distribution to Second Harvest's extensive food distribution network. Fans are encouraged to help out those members of our community that need a little extra help at this time.
In addition, fans attending the Saints' game on October 12 against the Oakland Raiders will also be able to donate non-perishable food items outside of the main entry gates prior to kickoff.
Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc., is one of the nation's largest food retailers. Founded in 1925, the Company is headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla. The Company currently operates 521 retail grocery locations, including more than 400 in-store pharmacies, in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia and Mississippi. For more information, please visit www.winn-dixie.com.
About Second Harvest
Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana (GNOA) is a member of the Feeding America™ network, Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans and United Way. Second Harvest provides food to 217 nonprofit and faith-based agencies throughout its 23-parish service territory — from the Mississippi border to the Texas state line. Since August, 2005, the Food Bank has distributed nearly 95 million pounds of food and supplies to more than 250,000 people annually, distributing enough food to provide an estimated 63,000 meals each week. The mission of Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana is to lead the fight against hunger in south Louisiana through food distribution, advocacy, education and disaster response. To donate food, money or time, please visit www.no-hunger.org.