With coins in short supply around the country, Southeastern Grocers today launched a “round up at the register” program to lessen the need to give change as well as contribute to regional and national charitable causes.
Under the “SEG Positive Change Round Up Campaign,” customers of Winn-Dixie, Bi-Lo, Harveys Supermarket and Fresco y Más stores who pay with a card can choose to round up their grocery purchase to the nearest dollar at checkout. All change donated will be electronically collected and provided to Feeding America, the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross Disaster Relief program and the American Cancer Society.
“At Southeastern Grocers, we are working diligently to make a difference in the communities we serve, and we are committed to protecting the health and safety of our associates, customers and neighbors as the country continues to navigate the effects of COVID-19,” President and CEO Anthony Hucker said in a statement. “While the nation’s shortage of coins is unexpected, we see this as another opportunity to once again help our neighbors in need and grow stronger together.”
From July 24 to Aug. 4, change collected in the SEG Positive Change Round Up Campaign will go toward supporting the network of Feeding America food banks. Southeastern Grocers noted that food insecurity has increased an estimated 46% during the COVID-19 pandemic and impacts one in six families across the Southeast.
Shoppers rounding up at checkout from Aug. 5 to 25 will have their spare change donated to the American Heart Association’s “Life Is Why We Give” fundraiser, which supports the prevention of heart disease and stroke by improved lifestyle choices and preventive health care. And from Aug. 26 to Sept. 29, customers are encouraged to round up to support Feeding America for Hunger Action Month, a month dedicated to nationally standing together to fight hunger.
Southeastern Grocers customers in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas, From Sept. 30 through Nov. 3, can round up to support the American Red Cross’ Disaster Relief program, which enables the organization to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from natural disasters. Also, Winn-Dixie customers in Alabama and Mississippi will be able to support the American Cancer Society “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” effort, while donations from shoppers in Louisiana will benefit the local Ochsner Cancer Institute.
The Jacksonville, Fla.-based grocer said it will continue the round-up campaign through the end of the year at its 550 supermarkets in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina.
The national coin shortage stems from the impact of COVID-19. On June 11, the Federal Reserve announced that the coronavirus outbreak “significantly disrupted” the supply chain and normal circulation patterns for U.S. coinage. As of June 15, the Fed and its coin distribution sites started allocating supplies of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters to depository institutions as a temporary measure to ensure a “fair and equitable distribution” of the current coin inventory.
Retailers and industry observers nationwide report that COVID-19 has curtailed in-store purchases, due to fewer people visiting stores, and pushed more Americans to buy retail goods online. However, cash represents over a third of all funds transacted in person by U.S. consumers and nearly half of all funds for transactions of less than $10.