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Big Y has once again launched “Sack Hunger,” an annual chain-wide initiative to assist hungry people within their own communities. Under the program, customers purchase for $10 a large brown reusable grocery bag filled with staple nonperishable food items pre-selected by local food banks, and then each store in the New England grocery chain distributes the bags to its surrounding region’s local food bank.
The food banks then give the filled “sacks” to area soup kitchens, food pantries, senior food programs and day care centers, in addition to many of their other member agencies. Since all bags will be distributed within the grocer’s market area, every donation remains within the local community. Since the program's inception in 2010, 23,000 bags have been donated. This year’s Sack Hunger campaign began Nov. 1 and will run through the rest of this year.
All five food banks within Big Y’s market area, which represent more than 2,100 member agencies, are taking part in Sack Hunger this year: The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, The Greater Boston Food Bank, Worcester County Food Bank, Foodshare of Greater Hartford and The Connecticut Food Bank.
The sacks, available at all Big Y stores and the company's open-air Fresh Acres market, contain the following nonperishable Big Y items: instant rice, elbow macaroni, kidney beans, peanut butter, cut green beans, whole-kernel corn, chunk light tuna and quick oats. Last year, customers donated more than 15,500 bags; this year, the Springfield, Mass.-based grocer aims to provide at least 20,000 bags to area food programs by the time the program ends.
“Our Sack Hunger program makes it easy for our customers to provide nutritious, nonperishable staple food to those less fortunate within our community,” noted Big Y chairman and CEO Donald H. D’Amour. “We all appreciate their efforts that continue to make this a bigger program each year.”
Family-owned and –operated Big Y, one of the largest independently owned supermarket chains in New England, operates 64 stores in Connecticut and Massachusetts, with over 10,000 employees.