Albertsons Cos. is committing $50 million to alleviate hunger across its national retail footprint via its “Nourishing Neighbors Community Relief” campaign.
Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons said Wednesday that the cash contribution comes on top of $3 million the company pledged last month in launching a new fundraiser to help people impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Over the last four weeks, customers have donated more than $13 million to the effort through the retailer’s stores.
Overall, Albertsons Cos. operates more than 2,200 food and drug stores in 34 states and the District of Columbia under 20 banners, including Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions, Star Market, Haggen, and Carrs.
“This time of extraordinary need demands an unprecedented response,” Albertsons Cos. President and CEO Vivek Sankaran said in a statement. “The basic needs of many of our neighbors have been threatened like never before. With a strong presence in more than 2,200 communities, we are committing an additional $50 million to help ensure that people in our neighborhoods have access to the healthy food they need. We are hopeful that more companies will join us and use our broad hunger relief network to distribute help locally, where it is needed most.”
Albertsons said its divisional teams will work with their local hunger relief partners to determine how to best allocate the aid to their communities. Nourishing Neighbors Community Relief funds will be used to help keep food banks stocked so they can respond to rising demand, support emergency meal distribution programs at schools, and assist senior centers and other programs that supply meals and food to seniors.
Via the fundraiser launched in mid-March, dubbed “Help Feed Families During This Crisis,” shoppers can donate at checkout in any Albertsons Cos. store as well as make contributions online at AlbertsonsCompaniesFoundation.org. Besides supporting nutrition efforts at food banks, schools and senior facilities, the fund helps families access federal food programs.
Among its other coronavirus assistance efforts, Albertsons early on partnered with hotel, restaurant, airline, retail and distribution companies to provide jobs for furloughed workers. The grocery retailer said that, over the past six weeks, it has hired more than 50,000 people and, going forward, continues to work with more than 35 companies “to help keep Americans working.”
To help employees, Albertsons said it will continue appreciation pay until at least May 2. The temporary program provides frontline associates another $2 per hour beyond regular pay and overtime plus $100 per week to salaried frontline team members. The company also is helping employees support one another through donations to the We Care Fund, an Albertsons Companies Foundation charity to assist workers and the community during unexpected financial hardships and emergencies. In addition, a designated committee of Albertsons Cos. employees evaluates worker applications for Qualified Relief (including COVID-19, presidentially declared disasters, catastrophic events, etc.) and Emergency Personal Hardship Assistance (including personal loss and health care costs).
Albertsons, too, is working with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) to obtain an “extended first responder” or “emergency personnel” classification for supermarket associates so they can be prioritized for testing and provided personal protection equipment (PPE).
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