Supermarket chains these days are addressing many social issues — including food insecurity, neighborhood health needs and youth development — and FMI-The Food Industry Association is recognizing grocers for their efforts.
FMI on Wednesday said it has recognized eight programs sponsored by six grocery retailers — Giant Food, Stop & Shop, Hy-Vee, The Giant Company, Schnuck Markets and Northgate Gonzalez Market — with Community Uplift Awards. The awards are designed to spotlight supermarkets’ integral role in the community and honor the creative efforts of those that support, engage and nourish the neighborhoods they serve.
“Beyond their day-to-day operations, grocers actively support, elevate and inspire their local communities,” FMI President and CEO Leslie Sarasin said in a statement. “The altruistic and innovative contributions of this year’s winners provide clear examples of our members’ unwavering commitment to nourish those in need, empower the next generation and maximize the wellness of their people.”
FMI Community Uplift Award categories include programs for food insecurity (e.g. food drives, food bank donations, commitments to facilitate access to fresh food in underserved areas), neighborhood health improvement (e.g. nutrition education, blood drives, health-related runs/walks, sustainability education and community involvement) and youth development (e.g. education, employment, job readiness, mentoring/tutoring).
Here are the honored retailers and their programs:
• Giant Food: “Curbside Groceries” and “Produce Rx” provide easier access to purchasing fresh produce for community members and their families in Washington D.C.’s Ward 8 and Maryland’s Prince George’s County. Two Curbside Groceries trucks deliver goods and groceries to hundreds of people each week. Produce RX offers $20 coupons for fresh fruit and vegetables.
• Stop & Shop: “School Food Pantry Program” and “Strike Out School Hunger". The pantry program provides gift cards and product donations to 130 school food pantries across the Northeast. To date, Stop & Shop has donated more than $1 million to the program, which in many cases feeds entire families living in shelters or battling homelessness. In the Strike Out School Hunger project, every time a Boston Red Sox player strikes out, Stop & Shop donates 10,000 meals to support the pantries, for about 10 million meals annually.
• Hy-Vee: “Food Bank Fridays” supports and fully replenishes food banks in the grocer’s communities across the Midwest. To date, Hy-Vee and its customers have raised $1 million for local food banks, and Hy-Vee has sponsored 11 Food Bank Fridays with a weekly Facebook post highlighting a food bank or supplier partner.
Neighborhood Health Improvement
• Stop & Shop: The “Nutrition Partners Dietitian Program” nourishes communities through wellness education, as Stop & Shop registered dietitians conduct store tours, one-on-one consultations, cooking demonstrations, educational webinars and free classes. They have reached over 3,000 community members through webinars and consultations while expanding free resources online.
• The Giant Company: The “Bleacher Garden,” in partnership with Empower at the Bridge Foundation, converted an abandoned high school’s bleachers into a productive, sustainable and high-yield garden to feed underserved families in Harrisburg, Pa. Giant anticipates the garden will yield over 6,000 pounds of fresh produce this year, enough to supply 120 families with 50 pounds of fresh produce each.
• Schnuck Markets: “Treasure Your Chest", which recognizes the disparity in breast cancer survival rates between white and Black women, incentivizes residents of 21 underserved ZIP codes of North St. Louis County to get mammograms. The first 1,500 mammogram clients received $50 Schnucks gift cards.
• Giant Food: “Ward 8 Healthy Living Grants” provide community nonprofits in the District of Columbia’s Ward 8 with Healthy Living Micro-Grants to educate community members on health and wellness best practices by hosting classes, workshops and other informative programs. Recipients include a wide range of groups, from Women Advancing Nutrition, Dietetics and Agriculture (WANDA) to Family & Friends of Incarcerated People to The Kitchen Physician.
• Northgate Gonzalez Market: “Northgate Youth Empowerment Programs” preserve culture through art and scholarships. The “Día de los Muertos Art Contest,” educational scholarships and workshops equip the youth in Northgate’s communities with new skills and knowledge, while actively celebrating Latin American culture and traditions.
Community Uplift Award candidates were judged according to store-level, corporate and community participation; addressing a community need; breadth and depth of the program; and originality and creativity, FMI said.
The winning programs will be awarded a $1,000 cash prize and a commemorative plaque. Grocers also will receive program recognition on the FMI website and digital communications, as well as inclusion in FMI media initiatives recognizing grocery store community contributions and in an online idea bank for food retail community service projects.
“FMI applauds all those who submitted a nomination for their selfless and impactful work. Each one reinforces the fact that the food industry will always have the back of its communities and remain a firm ally in addressing the challenges they face,” Sarasin said.