The FMI – Food Industry Association announced the winners of the 2020 Community Outreach Awards, which recognizes supermarkets for their social work with the communities they serve.
FMI President and CEO Leslie Sarasin, introduced this year’s winners, saying that the earmark of a great community is demonstrated in the ways it engages its inhabitants across the boundaries of age, gender, ethnicity, or economic status.
She noted that the local grocer participates right in the center of these community efforts. As the necessary partner in every home-cooked family meal, the supermarket is clearly the hub of food and nutritional support for the community, but the role of the local grocery in the neighborhood is so much larger.
The local food retailer supports the regional economy and is often among the key employers providing varied employment opportunities for those in the vicinity. But beyond the tangible support mechanisms of jobs and food, supermarkets also play a substantial role in the social arena, often being identified as the key crossroad that fosters neighborly connections.
Grocery stores have long supported local community efforts with contributions to food pantries, community programs, and even sports teams. They are the essence of community bulletin boards,” said Sarasin.
“As we navigate times of prosperity or uncertainty in our communities, grocers are stepping outside their traditional goodwill programs to elevate social issues and sustainability efforts. Food retailers do all they can to make their communities great places to live by keeping a caring eye on the needs of all their customers,” added FMI’s CEO.
The winners of the FMI’s 2020 Community Outreach Awards
Youth Development Program
Winner: Northgate González Market: Familia González Reynoso Foundation
Established in 2002, the Familia González Reynoso Foundation honors the legacy of the late Don Miguel González, owner and founder of Northgate González Market, by supporting organizations involved with higher education, human services, schools, orphanages, scholarships, and grants to individuals. The late Don Miguel’s wife Teresa González decided to start the foundation in 2002 after her husband passed and continue his charitable work in Mexico and in the United States. The foundation has a sister foundation in Mexico called, Familias Ayudando a Familias.
The Familia González Reynoso Foundation specifically focuses on four pillars: education, health, and wellness, spiritual life, and community. The foundation established its annual golf tournament 10 years ago, the organization has awarded more than $1.5 Million to programs including Cooking up Change and Viva La Salud community health projects, sponsoring youth sports leagues, and scholarships to help students pursue a college education.
“The González Reynoso Foundation was started by my family and their belief that it is important to give back to the communities we serve. We believe that giving back to others in the areas we see important to us as a family; Education, Health & Wellness, Spiritual Life, and Community Support is important to the success of not only the family but the business. When we hear and see success stories like many of the students receiving scholarships, we at the Familia González Reynoso Foundation feel honored and blessed to be able to help young adults pursue their higher education goals,” said Estela González, president of the foundation.
Honorable Mention: Skogen’s Festival Foods: Grocers on the Green
Programs Addressing Hunger
Winner: Smart & Final and Smart & Final Foundation: Project Feed First Responders
At Smart & Final, a warehouse grocery store that carries both club and traditional-sized items, we’re passionate about providing for those who provide for others. The charitable arm of Smart & Final and 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, the Smart & Final Charitable Foundation, is committed to improving the quality of life and nourishing the communities it serves. The foundation aids nonprofit organizations impacting issues such as Health & Wellness, Education, Hunger Relief, Team Sports & Youth Development, and Disaster Relief.
Under the Smart & Final Charitable Foundation pillar of disaster relief and to help with COVID-19 relief efforts, in total, the Smart & Final Charitable Foundation donated more than $170k to nonprofit organizations, including Feeding America partner food banks, Olive Crest, City of Hope, Caterina’s Club and various community organizations requesting funds through its online donation platform. This included cash donations, food, and supplies. It also included supporting 26 food pantries, feeding 300 firefighters for a month, and providing over 20,000 units of personal protective equipment (PPE) items to workers on the front lines.
“We are fortunate to have been able to make a greater impact in our community during a time of need and growing uncertainty. Smart & Final and the Smart & Final Charitable Foundation’s efforts are unparalleled in their level of dedication, compassion and servant leadership to serving first responders.” -Dave Hirz, Smart & Final President & CEO.
Honorable Mention: Menomonie Market Food Co-Op: Double Dollars
Neighborhood Health Improvement Programs
Winner: Giant Food: Ward 8 Initiative
In 2018 Giant Food made the commitment to launch a neighborhood health improvement program in Ward 8 of Washington, DC. As the district’s community with the highest rates of poverty, paired with the highest rates of chronic disease, there was a real opportunity to change the trajectory by implementing a strong food-driven wellness initiative. As the sole grocery store in the Ward, serving 80,000+ residents, it was Giant Food’s responsibility to play an active role in preventing the escalation of poor health outcomes.
Giant food has invested $2.4 million, over a three-to-five-year period, in improving health outcomes in Ward 8. With the opening of the Congress Heights Wellness Space in 2019, the community now has access to classes covering a variety of topics: nutrition, fitness, cooking, stress management, financial literacy, as well as programs identified specifically to target the community’s greatest wellness concerns. In the first year of the program, there were over 3K nutrition interactions and more than 15 new community partnerships developed by Jillian Griffith, the dedicated In-Store Nutritionist.
Honorable Mention: Hy-Vee gives back through COVID-19 and civil unrest relief.