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Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. is completing the rollout of its Food Recovery Program, which provides perishable items to local Feeding America affiliate food banks in the grocer’s five-state operating area. So far, the initiative has donated 3.5 million pounds of usable food to needy people in its pilot phase over the past 15 months.
“As a grocer, we are concerned about the number of Americans seeking food assistance in today’s economy, and we are very pleased to be a part of the solution,” said Winn-Dixie group VP of marketing Mary Kellmanson. “Our partnership with Feeding America and its network of food banks is making a meaningful impact in the fight against hunger.”
The grocer’s pilot of the program began in January 2010 at 10 stores, and since that time has spread with little fanfare to other Winn-Dixie stores. The program is currently on track to be implemented in all 515 of the chain’s stores by the end of April. Average contributions of usable food in similar programs across the United States range between 250 and 300 pounds weekly per store, including such foods as bread, meats, cheeses, bagged fruits and vegetables, gelatin desserts, and sandwiches. Winn-Dixie officials estimate that the program will send 6 million to 8 million pounds of usable food to area food banks each year, once the program is up and running in all of the company’s locations.
“This program will help us provide millions of meals to Americans who are living on the brink of hunger,” said Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of Chicago-based Feeding nonprofit America. “One of our important objectives at Feeding America is finding new sources of fresh and nutritious food to provide to the 5.7 million people who rely on us for food each week of the year.”
Jacksonville, Fla.-based Winn-Dixie operates 515 retail grocery locations, including over 400 in-store pharmacies, in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia and Mississippi.