This week, SpartanNash began shipping much-needed supplies to aid relief efforts in Ukraine, which remains besieged by Russia following its invasion two weeks ago.
The Grand Rapids, Mich.-based grocery distributor and retailer announced on March 3 plans to donate more than $1 million in food, essential goods and financial aid to Ukraine, working in tandem with humanitarian and disaster relief organization Convoy of Hope.
Supplies being shipped by SpartanNash include bottled water, Gatorade, canned meat and tuna, energy bars, over-the-counter medicines, baby food and formula, soup, shelf-stable meals, cookies and personal care products, among other items. SpartanNash also donated $25,000 in cash to Convoy of Hope to provide 7,500 additional meals to families fleeing the conflict.
From its military distribution center in Norfolk, Va., MDV SpartanNash division will export the products through its global supply network and supplier relationships and get the items to Ukrainians who have fled to eastern Europe.
“We are doing all the loads and then sending them over the ocean, and then Convoy of Hope will help us get them situated in the places they’re needed,” SpartanNash President and CEO Tony Sarsam told Supermarket News.
Thus far, an estimated 2.3 million Ukrainians have entered neighboring Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Moldova, Romania and adjacent nations since Russia launched its invasion on Feb. 24. More than half have gone to Poland. Millions more refugees are expected as the war continues to intensify.
Springfield, Mo.-based Convoy of Hope has situated a response team in Poland to coordinate its relief efforts. The organization said it’s working with partners in multiple European countries to provide shelter and emergency relief. According to Convoy of Hope, the chief needs are food, water, personal hygiene and health care items, and financial assistance.
“As we started seeing this tragedy unfold in Europe, our team immediately sprung action to figure out what we could do to help,” SpartanNash said. “We knew we had the capability and were uniquely positioned with our supply chain to actually provide some help. Our international is all military and run through one division of our company called MDV. That group spent time figuring out what they could do to broker the process to get the goods and services over to where they’re needed the most. So we jumped in with that, found a partner in Convoy of Hope and began the process of putting together container loads that we thought would best suit the needs of people struggling over there.”
MDV SpartanNash distributes products to 160 military commissaries and over 400 exchanges in 39 states and the District of Columbia, as well as in Europe, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Honduras, Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Djibouti, Korea and Japan. The company has five military distribution centers and two DCs that serve both its military and food segments.