For the third straight year, representatives of the Field to Family relief program have visited the offices of Sosland Publishing Co. to discuss their effort to provide hunger relief through a joint effort with participants throughout grain-based foods.

Under this worthy program, grain and milling companies are providing in-kind or cash gifts to help Hostess Brands produce and ship bread and sweet goods to pantries/food distribution centers. Hostess also is a contributor. Deliveries are expected to reach 120,000 units (bread loaves or sweet goods packages) this year, up from 80,000 in 2010 and only 18,000 in 2009. Fifty nine companies are participating this year, double the figure of last year and up from 15 two years ago.

The executive director of one of the distribution centers that is a program recipient asked a Hostess representative to come and witness the pickup of one of the relief packages, backpacks filled with food children take home for weekends — now with snack cakes.

“She noted that the kids can’t wait to open the backpacks this time of year and wanted me to see it,” the baker said. “It was something to see, but it’s difficult to describe their reaction, their excitement. Some of these kids have never had a cupcake. Never had a Twinkie.”

The story is both uplifting and heartbreaking. Ultimately, one hopes it is reinforcing to Hostess and others in the industry to sustain and further expand this wonderful endeavor.