Meijer and its shoppers team up to feed the hungry

Grocer’s food donation program raised nearly $300,000 for food pantries last December

With local food banks facing shortfalls this spring, supercenter chain Meijer is re-launching its Simply Give food donation program to help restock the shelves of local food pantries, including the North Kent Service food pantry. The announcement was made by Hank Meijer’s co-chairman and CEO of the Grand Rapids, Michigan-based retailer.

“The need to restock and replenish our local food banks and food pantries is greater than ever, so we are encouraging our customers to join us again in reaching out to lend a helping hand to those in need,” said Meijer. “We’re committed to making a difference in all the communities where we do business, and this is just another example of the importance we place on being an active member of the community.

The program, which will runs through May 30, encourages Meijer’s shoppers to purchase a $10 Meijer food pantry donation card at special displays throughout the store, as well as inside Meijer gas stations and convenience stops. The donation card will then be converted into Meijer Gift Cards given to local food pantries selected by the store. (The $10 amount reflects a typical bag of groceries at Meijer.)

Meijer will once again seed the program with overall donation of $100,000 in grocery gift cards that will be divided equally among all the participating food pantries. As part of the program, each Meijer store selected one local food pantry to receive its donations.

The program was initially introduced this past November in all markets served by Meijer. The program, which ran through the holidays, raised nearly $300,000 for local food pantries, as Meijer customers donation of $187,000 and Meijer contributed $100,000 in grocery gift cards to 185 local food pantries.

“The North Kent Service Center has been selected as the recipient store for the Rockford Meijer and the newest Meijer’s store opening in Cedar Springs on May 6, 2009.

“The North Kent Service Center was the recipient of the ‘Simply Give’ program during the 2008 holiday seasons and received $3,000 from the community Meijer in Rockford. These funds were our saving grace during the Christmas season and assisted us purchasing a large portion of the food needed for the 1,000+ families we provided holiday meal baskets for,” said Sandy Waite, Executive Director for the North Kent Service Center.

“During the summer months the North Kent Service Center’s food pantry is depleted by all the extra food request. With children home during the summer months, families need three meals instead of one. When in school many children receive both breakfast and lunch. Summer is one of our busiest times for emergency food requests,” said Waite. “We are excited that Meijer is again providing a way for the local communities to assist us in ‘Helping our Neighbors in Need.’ Please if you are able to-select one of these $10 gift cards while at Meijer to help those who are struggling right here in our own back yards and neighborhoods.”

Upon purchasing the Simply Give donation, the Meijer customer keeps the food pantry card. If he or she would like to make a donation on someone’s behalf, each food pantry card has a blank space to indicate that a donation was made in the name of someone as a gift. Meijer plans on presenting the total donation to each local food pantry by early June when local food banks and pantries expect greater demands for their services once schools close for the summer.

Meijer donates more than six percent of its net profits annually to a broad group of charities and organization through the five states where its stores are located. The Simply Give program drills down even deeper by ensuring the benefits are recognized in the very community where the specific Meijer is located.

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