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With the holidays looming, supermarket operators such as Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. and Food Lion are stepping up their anti-hunger efforts. For both grocers, these efforts involve working with a particular organization: Feeding America.
Winn-Dixie has teamed up the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity, to launch the “Give a Meal” program, which enables Winn-Dixie customers and associates to help feed the almost 37 million Americans who might otherwise go hungry during the holidays. The initiative runs through Jan. 3 at all Winn-Dixie stores, with every $1 donated helping to provide eight meals to the needy.
“With one in six Americans facing hunger every day, there is no business more aligned to help with this cause than Winn-Dixie,” said Mary Kellmanson, group VP of marketing at the Jacksonville, Fla.-based grocer, which operates stores in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia and Mississippi. “Teaming with our guests and team members, along with Feeding America, we are eager to make a difference and ease some of the pain caused by hunger in our communities.”
Participants can support the effort in three ways: donating at checkout, donating online at www.winn-dixie.com/giveameal, and buying Winn-Dixie brand products, a portion of the purchases of which will go to Feeding America.
Additionally, some stores will offer prepackaged nonperishables in $5 and $10 increments that can be contributed to a regional food bank right after purchase at marked collection barrels by the stores’ exits.
“The holidays are a perfect time to give a gift that can make a difference in someone’s life,” said Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of Chicago-based Feeding America. “With Give a Meal, even a small donation will go a long way in helping make sure that people have something to eat this holiday season.”
Along with Winn-Dixie, various corporate partners, among them Bank of America, Dillard’s, HMSHost and Honey Baked Ham, are backing the Give a Meal campaign. Celebrity supporters include Rachael Ray, members of OneRepublic, Curtis Stone, Benji and Joel Madden, Samantha Harris, and Katie Lee. A running counter on the Feeding America website (www.feedingamerica.org) will tally the number of meals donated during the campaign.
The Food Lion family of banners, Bloom and Bottom Dollar Food have also joined with Feeding America to kick off the ninth annual “Hunger Has a Cure” campaign to aid local food banks affiliated with the organization. The campaign, which allows shoppers to purchase ready-made food boxes or donate food in bins, runs through Dec. 27.
The Delhaize America-owned chains hope to collectively surpass previous box donation counts by raising more than 1.5 million pounds of food, valued at more than $1.2 million, during the current campaign.
“We believe that, as a grocer, we can make a difference in our communities by joining forces with Feeding America, and our customers and associates to fight hunger – one box at a time,” noted Bill Garcia, community relations manager for Food Lion Family, Bloom and Bottom Dollar Food in Salisbury, N.C.
Containing six items of private label product the boxes are available at Food Lion, Harveys, Reid's, Bloom and Bottom Dollar Food stores, which are located in the Southeast and Mid-Altantic regions, for $4.99 apiece, while supplies last. All stores feature a designated food collection area where customers can place the boxes or other nonperishable items. Customers will be able to give cash donations at checkout once the boxes sell out.
Since January 2011, the chains’ donations to Feeding America have totaled more than 34 million pounds of food, valued at more than $76 million. The grocers’ partnership with the organizations dates back to 2002, and over the years, more than 294 million pounds of food have been donated to Feeding America and its affiliated food banks.