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Walmart's $25 million commitment will support organizations on the front lines responding to the outbreak as well as food banks, school meal programs and organizations that provide access to food for underserved populations.

Retailers dig deep for community outreach during coronavirus pandemic

Walmart, Kroger, Albertsons and others donate millions to ensure food security for vulnerable Americans

Leading grocery retailers are stepping up to the plate during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic with substantial financial contributions supporting communities across the United States faced with challenges such as food insecurity and vulnerable populations.

While retail giants such as Walmart, Target, Kroger and Albertsons are leading the charge, smaller grocery chains are also doing their part. Here’s the latest roundup of how retailers are supporting their communities through this difficult time.

Walmart: The country’s largest retailer and the Walmart Foundation have committed $25 million to support organizations on the front lines responding to the outbreak.

“In times of need, we see communities come together to do extraordinary things. This pandemic is no different,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, executive vice president and chief sustainability officer for Walmart and president of the Walmart Foundation. “We are humbled by the efforts of our store associates, nonprofit partners, and citizens across the globe who are coming together to support those in need. We hope these grants will help to expand critical response efforts as we continue to work together to address the impact of COVID-19.”

Announced last week, the funds will be used to strengthen the global public health response, bolster food security and support the needs of local communities in the U.S. and internationally. The commitment is intended to provide $5 million to support global efforts to help countries prevent, detect and manage the coronavirus; $10 million to support food banks, school meal programs and organizations that provide access to food for underserved populations; and $10 million to support efforts in local communities in the United States and international markets.

The Kroger Co.: Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation last week announced a $3 million commitment to rapidly deploy hunger-relief resources to communities disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Our most urgent mission is to be here for our customers when they need us most, and our store, warehouse, distribution, food production and office associates are working around the clock to keep our stores open for our customers,” said Keith Dailey, Kroger's group vice president of corporate affairs. “We’re also mindful that the coronavirus pandemic may result in more of our neighbors struggling with food insecurity during this challenging time — and we want to help.”

The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation's $3 million commitment will be equally distributed between the foundation's nonprofit partners, Feeding America and No Kid Hungry. The funding will not only support local food banks nationwide, but also fund initiatives that ensure children, whose schools may be closed, still have access to nutritious meals.

In addition, the company is making it easy for customers to support the foundation's mission by choosing to round up their purchases to the nearest dollar at every self-checkout lane in America or donate at ZeroHungerZeroWasteFoundation.org.

Albertsons: Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons Companies and Albertsons Companies Foundation announced a pledge of $3 million and the launch of a major fundraiser to help feed families in need during the COVID-19 crisis.

“There has never been a more important time to help our neighbors than right now,” said President & CEO Vivek Sankaran. “Albertsons Companies has always been on the front line of hunger relief, and our customers always stand with us. We are asking our communities to join us in this effort to ensure that the COVID-19 crisis doesn’t also become a hunger crisis.”

In addition to its $3 million pledge, Albertsons through its “Help Feed Families During This Crisis” is asking donors to help fight hunger in their communities. Contributions can be made online at AlbertsonsCompaniesFoundation.org. Shoppers can also make donations at checkout at any Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, Star Market, Tom Thumb, Randal’s, ACME, and other Albertsons Cos. store.

TargetTargetstore_header.jpg

Target is earmarking $5 million to be committed to state and local community foundations supporting nonprofit organizations addressing the greatest needs in their area.

Target: For team members and communities that need extra resources, Minneapolis-based Target and the Target Foundation will be giving $10 million to expand relief and assistance to its team members, as well as local, national and global organizations responding to the pandemic.

“Families across the country are counting on Target in so many ways during this pandemic, and our team has been nothing short of remarkable,” said Brian Cornell, CEO of Target. “The commitments we’re making today will provide additional resources for our most valuable asset—our team—and additional contributions will help support the critical work of our partners in communities impacted by the coronavirus.” 

The $10 million donation — Target’s largest ever to a single relief effort — will support efforts in four areas:

Team Members — $1 million will go to the Target Team Member Giving Fund to assist team members who are most impacted. 

Local Communities — $5 million will be committed to state and local community foundations supporting nonprofit organizations addressing the greatest needs in their area, including vulnerable populations such as underrepresented communities.

National Organizations — $3 million will support national nonprofits such as Feeding America and others, assisting with response and recovery for affected communities.
Global Response — $1 million will support organizations such as UNICEF and others, helping provide critical medical equipment and supplies to regions around the world.

H-E-B: San Antonio-based H-E-B is giving $3 million to support local organizations working to stop the spread of coronavirus.

H-E-B’s partnership with local nonprofits will provide relief to some of its most vulnerable neighbors: seniors, children and low-income families, the company said. 

“During these trying times, H-E-B is here for Texas,” said Winell Herron, H-E-B group vice president of public affairs, diversity and environmental affairs. “Now, more than ever, H-E-B is keeping with our Spirit of Giving and Helping Here philosophies to do everything we can to support our fellow Texans.”

From this commitment, H-E-B’s Hunger Relief Program will donate $1.2 million to support 18 food banks throughout Texas, which will provide more than 6 million meals. Additionally, H-E-B will deliver 15 truckloads of food and household supplies to the various food banks. H-E-B works directly with food banks that are affiliated with Feeding Texas, a member of Feeding America, the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief organization.

Part of this commitment will provide $500,000 in financial assistance to organizations dedicated to mobilized home feeding services for seniors and low-income families such as Meals on Wheels.

H-E-B will also dedicate $300,000 to assist Texas Biomedical Research Institute, a San Antonio-based organization with a team dedicated to coronavirus research that will have a global impact. Texas Biomed has launched a unique research project to be among the first in the nation to develop the laboratory model necessary for testing diagnostics, vaccines and treatments to combat coronavirus.

H-E-B is also pledging $1 million in financial support for its nonprofit partners who are providing vital services during this time. 

Hy-Vee: Beginning Monday, March 23, West Des Moines, Iowa-based Hy-Vee will launch a campaign to raise money and awareness for food banks across its eight-state region. When customers check out, they will be asked if they would like to donate $1 or more to assist local food banks. For every dollar raised, Hy-Vee will match it dollar for dollar, up to $500,000. Customers can also make a donation in a pre-set increment during their Hy-Vee Aisles Online purchase. All funds will then be collected at the store level on a weekly basis and provided to local food banks to help replenish their stock every week.

“In today’s uncertain times, we want to keep our local food banks stocked with the essentials that individuals and families need,” said Randy Edeker, Hy-Vee’s chairman, CEO and president. “By partnering with our customers, our goal is to raise $1 million for our food bank partners so they can continue their operations throughout this crisis.”

The company’s match will come from Hy-Vee’s One Step program, which is funded by proceeds from the sales of select Hy-Vee products to assist those in need.

Donations at the checkout will be accepted March 23 through April 30. Each Hy-Vee location has selected a local food bank that will receive the monetary donations.

The Giant Company: Carlisle, Pa.-based The Giant Company is donating a total of $250,000 to four local hunger relief organizations including the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, Philabundance, Maryland Food Bank and Meals on Wheels Pennsylvania. These organizations represent hope to those in over 30 counties within Pennsylvania and Maryland as they work through extraordinary circumstances to supply food to hundreds of food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters.

“While our nonprofit partners are doing an amazing job at serving the community as usual in these challenging times, they are facing unique pressure due to lost wages forcing more families to ask for help and social distancing causing some heartbreaking cases of isolation,” said Nicholas Bertram, president, The GIANT Company. “The GIANT Company’s purpose is to connect families for a better future, which is why we are acting with urgency and providing them with funds now so they can continue to support our most vulnerable neighbors. Working together, we can truly make a difference and it’s our hope that anyone who can does join us in providing relief to these life-sustaining organizations.”

During this crisis, each food bank along with Meals on Wheels Pennsylvania are building and shipping thousands of prepackaged boxes of healthy shelf stable food, bags of produce, dairy, and frozen meals for distribution to its partner agencies and clients. To minimize the risk of disease transmission, these organizations have also terminated food drives at this time adding to the financial burden.

Each organization will use the funds to help address immediate needs including offsetting operational expenses, securing food and ensuring critical food delivery to those in need throughout local communities, especially seniors and kids.

Vallarta Supermarkets: Sylmar, Calif.-based Vallarta Supermarkets, one of the largest Latino-owned supermarket chains in California, will donate $150,000 to a number of local non-profit organizations servicing seniors and those at greater risk of getting ill from the virus. Donations will support the communities Vallarta stores serves.

The donations will be made through Vallarta Supermarket's Gonzalez Family Foundation to Meals on Wheels and service organizations working to help seniors and families in this time of need in communities throughout Southern California.

“These are unprecedented and challenging times for all of us, especially those we know are suffering the most during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Andrew Lewis, vice president of marketing, Vallarta Supermarkets. “We hope this donation further demonstrates our commitment to the communities we serve.”

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