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Food Lion and the Charlotte Hornets have teamed up for a multiyear, multifaceted partnership that establishes the grocer's giving platform, Food Lion Feeds, as the basketball team's Official Hunger Relief Partner.
The two organizations kicked off their collaboration on Sept. 16 by distributing more than 9,500 meals to 300 school families at Highland Renaissance Academy in Charlotte, N.C., aided by Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina's mobile food pantry. Hornets players Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Cody Zeller took part in the event.
The partnership and food donations are part of Food Lion's first-ever annual Week of Service, taking place Sept. 15-19, and the grocer's pledge to provide 500 million meals by the end of 2020.
"Food Lion Feeds and the Charlotte Hornets share a desire to assist in our community and are committed to help end hunger in the Carolinas," said Hornets Sports & Entertainment President and COO Fred Whitfield. “Hunger is a growing concern, and with this partnership, both organizations can continue to join forces to provide the necessary resources to those in need."
Feeding the Food Insecure
As the Official Hunger Relief Partner of the Charlotte Hornets, Food Lion Feeds aims to provide more than 300,000 meals over three years, including continued support of the Charlotte Hornets Foundation's yearly Cornucopia event, which gives 1,000 Thanksgiving meals to low-income families. Additionally, the Hornets and Food Lion Feeds will donate 200 turkeys to WFNZ’s (610 AM) annual Street Turkeys effort.
"When I was a store manager, I saw firsthand the tough choices customers are sometimes forced to make to feed their families," noted Beth Newlands Campbell, president of Salisbury, N.C.-based Food Lion, which operates more than 1,100 stores in 10 Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic states, employing 63,000-plus associates. "In difficult times, many people have to decide whether to pay rent, buy groceries or purchase gasoline to get to work, because they simply cannot do all three. At Food Lion, we believe no one should have to choose between dinner and paying rent or gasoline and buying groceries. We're committed to working to end hunger and making the lines shorter at Charlotte feeding agencies through Food Lion Feeds."
Over the next three years, the Hornets and Food Lion will continue to undertake hunger relief efforts throughout the Charlotte area as part of each organization's philanthropic programs.
In addition to the Hornets collaboration and its Week of Service, Food Lion addresses hunger relief well beyond Hunger Action Month in September.
"Over the course of the year, Food Lion partners with its customers through three in-store campaigns to support Food Lion Feeds," company spokeswoman Courtney James told Progressive Grocer. "From June 9-30, the purchase of one Food Lion Feeds reusable bag provided five meals to local food banks in partnership with Feeding America. The reusable bag campaign donated 1 million meals to local food banks. Similarly, from Sept. 17-Oct. 7, customers can purchase a bag of specially marked Gala apples for $2.99 and Food Lion will donate five meals to local food banks, again in partnership with Feeding America. Finally, Holidays Without Hunger boxes will be available for purchase Nov. 19-Dec. 23 in Food Lion stores and will be donated directly to local feeding agencies."
James added that "each of Food Lion's more than 1,100 stores is paired with a local feeding agency through the grocer's food recycle program. Several times a week, local agencies pick up excess fresh and shelf-stable items and provide those to individuals and families in need in the local communities surrounding Food Lion stores."
As a result of such initiatives, according to James, "In just four months since establishing its 500 million meal commitment in June, Food Lion has already provided more than 23 million meals to individuals and families in need, in partnership with its food bank and feeding agency partners."
Food Lion is a company of Delhaize America, the U.S. division of Brussels-based Delhaize Group.