COLTON, Calif. — In its 21-year history, the Food For All fund-raising program has expanded its horizons from Southern California to the entire nation and parts of the world, raising more than $50 million through thousands of participating stores.
And it all began, in many ways, with Stater Bros. Markets and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jack Brown. Since 1987 Stater Bros., which operates 163 supermarkets in six Southern California counties, has run the Food For All point-of-purchase program year-round. All told, the retailer has contributed more than $2.5 million to hunger-related charities at home and nationwide. Last year Stater Bros. raised $186,000 through the program.
According to Food For All President Denis Zegar, Stater Bros. was instrumental in getting the program off the ground by being one of the first companies to carry the in-store fund raiser.
“I think it's safe to say that Jack was one of the founders of Food For All,” Zegar said. “His was the first big chain to come on board.”
Brown said he also helped Food For All fine-tune its donation system. Among other things, he linked the organization with the art department at Stater Bros. to design its in-store display.
“We've been involved from the very start, and we're very proud of that involvement,” Brown said.
Currently, more than 6,000 stores are involved with Food For All. The program's staple is its POP format, which positions $1, $3 and $5 donation slips at the register for customers to add to their checkout total.
Brown said it's the simplicity of this system, along with the organization's reliability and high donation rate, that has kept Stater Bros. involved all these years. Food For All donates close to 90% of all that it receives to affiliated charities.
“We're very careful when we expose our customers to collections in the stores,” Brown said. “We think there's a big responsibility on our part that the funds go where the customer intended them to go.”
Last year's $186,000 went to 31 charities in the Stater Bros. coverage area. Brown said each organization received a donation of around $6,000. It's this option to donate to local organizations that has made Food For All popular with supermarkets across the country.
“Our philosophy is to return money to the communities where we do business,” Brown said. “We believe that funds collected in the community should stay close to that community.”
Zegar said that Food For All is more than happy with Brown's participation to date. And his influence gives the organization credibility.
“He's so well known within the industry, and so well respected,” Zegar said. “That's helped us a great deal.”
TOP Food For All Contributors
(Carlisle & Landover)
Stater Bros. Markets
Big Y Foods
Wild Oats Markets
Source: Food For All; total funds raised to date