During the month of September, Andronico’s Community Markets is urging participants in its FitBank program — which rewards shoppers and employees with cash and healthy foods for working out — to donate their rewards to the student pantry on the UC Berkeley campus.
Sponsors for the September challenge include Red Duck Condiments, KIND Bars, Triple Leaf Tea, Marlo’s Bakery and Simply Essential NY Strip Steaks.
During the challenge, FitBank users can log their daily workouts at the gym of their choice in their account on the Sweat.Works Global Gym app, available on iTunes. By working out just once each week, participants receive free food rewards sponsored by healthy foods brands. Those who work out more times per week are eligible for cash rewards. Both food rewards and cash rewards can be donated directly to the student food panty.
A UC Berkeley student survey found that one in every five students report having to skip meals to save money ranging from rarely to frequently.
“You may not feel like it needs a food bank as a quasi-Ivy League school,” Andronico’s CEO Suzy Monford told SN, “but only about 40% to 50% of students pay tuition and the majority are on scholarship or financial aid. So it draws the best and brightest but they may not come from an income demographic that can afford the tuition and a lot of students are so strapped that they don’t have extra money for food.”
The issue is one that Monford has recognized in its store nearest the school where shoplifters, who are increasingly students, have been seen eating prepared foods in the aisles or stealing items such as a pack of crackers. Since food insecurity has an impact on health and wellness — an area where Andronico’s strives to make a difference — the retailer wanted to do something to help.
Andronico’s initially launched FitBank last January to shoppers and it currently has about 1,000 users, Monford said. The FitBank program, which Monford developed, can be licensed to other food retailers.