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Follow-through Critical to Wellness Initiatives

Supporting health and wellness programs that focus on reducing childhood obesity and hunger are clearly “the right thing to do.” And, such initiatives are quick to garner public support and customer recognition, making this a popular program for grocery retailers and food manufacturers. But, such a concept requires a long-term commitment to produce results. Campbell Soup is in the process of doing just that.

Their ten-year, $10 million pledge, announced earlier this year, is being implemented in Camden, N.J. The company recognized it couldn’t touch every child’s life, but it could make a difference and develop a successful health and wellness model for replication.

Although early in the project, it’s clear the manufacturer’s meticulous and consistent approach is getting noticed. According to David Stangis, Campbell’s vice president of corporate social responsibility and sustainability, this program is frequently cited for its design and action-oriented approach. Consequently, Campbell Soup is often asked to be involved with national nonprofit and governmental health and wellness initiatives and groups .

Anchored in their CSR and Sustainability mantra, the manufacturer has a four-prong attack:

• Provide access to healthy, affordable food

• Emphasize physical activity and education

• Build long-term public goodwill

Working in two neighborhoods with six pilot sites, the company partners with similarly focused organizations, such as the YMCA, the Food Trust, the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, Let’s Move and The Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

Campbell Soup also taps volunteers from within their organization by involving employees in healthy food preparation for school lunches; creating well balanced meals for delivery to the homebound ill; and stocking school children’s backpacks with nutritious staples for those who can’t afford a balanced meal.

Already making progress, Campbell’s recognizes it needs even more partners to tackle the significant problems of childhood obesity and hunger. The company considers itself a catalyst and will engage retail outlets and customers.

“For us, this health and wellness initiative is a corporate imperative,” said Stangis. “With our continued commitment and the assistance of our strategic partners, we are resolved to not only attain this goal but to achieve sustainability.”

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