Southeastern Grocers has donated more than $1.28 million in “hunger relief” bags of groceries to food pantries assisting food insecure Americans amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through an in-store program running at Bi-Lo, Winn-Dixie, Harveys Supermarket and Fresco y Más stores from May 5 to 15, customers purchased nearly 258,000 $5 hunger relief bags containing dry groceries, which then were donated to Feeding America member food banks. The campaign was done in conjunction with the SEG Gives Foundation.
“We are grateful for the giving hearts of our customers and associates who recognize the needs in our communities and are able to make an impact in meaningful ways,” Southeastern Grocers President and CEO Anthony Hucker said in a statement. “With this donation, we are providing support to our local food pantries, nourishment to individuals in need and providing hope to our neighbors during these difficult times. As a community, we are stronger together.”
Southeastern Grocers said all of the hunger relief bags were fulfilled directly from its warehouse and delivered to local food banks, providing a contactless donation for shoppers and store associates. The bags held shelf-stable SE Grocers products such as spaghetti, canned green beans, canned corn, and boxes of macaroni and cheese.
Also contributing to the effort was PepsiCo, which via customer donations and a $25,000 pledge provided 5,000 hunger relief bags to Feeding America food pantries.
“We are honored to support Southeastern Grocers on this campaign to help alleviate hunger in the communities we serve,” commented Rich Panner, vice president of the South division of PepsiCo Beverages North America.
Jacksonville, Fla.-based Southeastern Grocers operates 550 supermarkets in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina.
The economic impact of the coronavirus crisis has the potential to greatly increase the number of food insecure Americans, according to Feeding America.
A Feeding America analysis updated April 22 projected that for every 1.1% uptick in the unemployment rate and 1.5% rise in the poverty rate, the food insecurity goes up by 1%, or 3.3 million people. That would translated to 9.9 million people for a 4.5% jobless rate increase (+2.6% in poverty rate, +3% food insecurity rate) and 17.1 million people for a 4.8% gain in unemployment (+4.8% poverty rate, +5.2% food insecurity rate).
“The Feeding America network of food banks serves children, families and seniors who are facing hunger every day, but right now the need is at an all-time high,” stated Lauren Biedron, vice president of corporate partnerships at Feeding America. “We are so very thankful for the donation from Southeastern Grocers and its customers. With this donation, we will have the opportunity to help provide more food to our neighbors across the U.S.”
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