H.E. Butt Grocery Co.’s knowledge of its local market makes it a great merchandiser of products. But that knowledge also makes the chain aware of problems and challenges faced by its customers and communities. The retailer has an extensive community-service program that includes donating 5% of its pre-tax earnings to charities. H-E-B’s goals include education support, hunger relief, volunteerism and disaster relief, said Winell Herron, group vice president of public affairs and diversity.
“Those efforts are part of our core values as a company,” she said. “And it’s not just about writing a check. It’s also about people rolling up their sleeves and volunteering their time.”
Following are some details of the company’s community programs:
H-E-B’s Classroom of Champions program has financial and volunteer partnerships with 1,600 schools throughout Texas. Some H-E-B stores “adopt a school” by having employee partners work closely on various projects to benefit the institution. H-E-B awards financial grants to schools for the best of these partnerships.
H-E-B’s Excellence in Teaching Program recognizes outstanding teachers with financial awards to the teachers and schools. Other awards that recognize excellent teachers include the Rising Star Award, Leadership Award and Lifetime Achievement Award.
The H-E-B Food Bank Assistance Program supports some 21 food banks with anti-hunger efforts. The retailer’s contributions include food, nonfood, material handling equipment, freezers, coolers, and training and consultation.
H-E-B sponsors festive “Feast of Sharing” holiday dinner gatherings that this year will provide meals to more than 225,000 less fortunate area residents in November and December. “When you see how many people come for the dinners you realize how many are struggling with the basics, including the homeless and elderly,” Herron said.
H-E-B encourages its partners to volunteer their time in the Feast of Sharing dinners and in the Junior Achievement program for mentoring students. H-E-B Spirit Corp. partners volunteer time for classroom mentoring and other community improvement projects. Partners are also encouraged to participate in walks, runs and fund-raisers for non-profits.
H-E-B supports communities in times of natural disasters such as hurricanes and tornadoes. The company provides resources including water and a mobile kitchen trailer staffed with cooks.
“Our mobile kitchen can feed up to 2,000 people an hour,” Herron said. “In one situation our mobile kitchen got a hospital up and running with food following a flood that shut down its kitchens.”