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SAN ANTONIO - H-E-B Grocery Co. and Southwest Airlines joined forces yesterday to celebrate H-E-B's 100th anniversary by delivering the largest food bank donation ever made in a single day.
"The Flight to Fight Hunger" effort marked the kick-off of a celebration of H-E-B's 100 years of serving Texas families. "The donation exceeded our goals at a little over 1.2 million pounds of food delivered throughout the state," Kate Rogers, H-E-B's Celebration 100 project director, told Progressive Grocer. "The response was terrific and the event generated considerable media attention," according to Rogers, who added that a series of activities are planned as part of the chain's year-long celebration that will officially commence Nov. 26, the day the first C.C. Butt Grocery Store opened in Kerrville.
"The Flight To Fight Hunger relief effort was one of the first community initiatives that we are doing for our 100th, as we focus on our big areas of emphasis, which are hunger relief and prevention, education, and the environment," Rogers noted. "This is about the spirit of giving back and thanking the many communities throughout Texas that have supported H-E-B all these years.
"The whole campaign is about thanking our partners, or employees, our customers, and our communities, so we have a series of promotions happening throughout the year where
customers will have the chance to win a variety of really big Texas-size prizes," she continued. "We also have a number of internal activities planned for our partners in a
variety of ways to thank them for their service."
In a single day, H-E-B and Southwest Airlines employees crisscrossed Texas using H-E-B tractor trailers and a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737, to deliver more than one million pounds of food and related products to the 18 Texas food banks affiliated with America's Second Harvest -- The Nation's Food Bank Network. The donations consisted of H-E-B's own brand products and products generously contributed by H-E-B suppliers.
To start the event, H-E-B chairman and c.e.o. Charles Butt and Southwest Airlines president Colleen Barrett christened new vehicles for their company fleets. For Barrett, it was a new Boeing 737-700, featuring H-E-B's Celebration 100 logo prominently displayed on its fuselage. For his part, Butt unveiled an H-E-B 18-wheeler also freshly painted with
a new Celebration 100 design.
"This incredible contribution by H-E-B and its partners will allow the Texas affiliates of America's Second Harvest to provide approximately 780,000 meals to families in need," said Jan Pruitt, president of the Texas Association of Food Banks and executive director of the North Texas Food Bank. "H-E-B has been one of our largest corporate contributors for many years and we appreciate all H-E-B and its partners do to support hunger relief and prevention."
H-E-B currently operates more than 300 stores in Texas and internationally in Mexico and employs more than 56,000 employees with $11 billion dollars in sales.
-- Meg Major