By: David Fikes, Vice President, Communications and Community/Consumer Affairs, Food Marketing Institute

Community Outreach AwardsWinners
My older brothers took great pains to school me in the fine art of skipping rocks at Atkins Lake near our childhood home. I spent many hours fine-tuning my technique to make sure my carefully selected rock skimmed the water perfectly – achieving multiple skips which were documented by the number of concentrated ripples cascading into each other on the water’s surface.  Years later, I have learned that it is not the stones we skip that create the most memorable ripples, but the cumulative currents of good originally generated by our acts of kindness and care. 

In today’s world it is far too easy to miss the powerful ripple effect caused by one kind act, and no one demonstrates this better than food retailers. Whether it’s helping youth through mentorship or education programs, providing sustenance to the food insecure, or improving the health of their neighborhoods, it’s the oft-unmentioned goodwill of grocers that serve and shape our communities. As community cornerstones, grocers strive to make a difference and extend a helping hand to neighbors near and far.

I was impressed by the creativity and reach of the 15 nominated programs and I look forward to watching the programs continue to grow and evolve.  Here are FMI’s 2017 Community Outreach Award Winners:

Neighborhood Health Improvement Programs - Skogen's Festival Foods Turkey Trot


festival-foods-turkey-trot_dsc_0083Festival Foods employees contributed in excess of 200 hours to plan and execute the Turkey Trot. In 2016, the event was held in 10 locations and had a total of 31,000 registrants, an increase of 16.32 percent from 2015. The event raised $360,000, and over the span of its nine years, fundraising has totaled $1,930,000.

Programs Addressing Food Insecurity - Hy-Vee, Inc Hurricane Relief

HyveeHy-Vee matched customer and partner donations up to $100,000 to assist in the Hurricane Harvey, Irma and Maria relief efforts and partnered with the American Red Cross to distribute funds, which totaled $670,468 to hurricane victims. Hy-Vee also donated 5 semi-trailers of bottled water, totaling 187,872 bottles, for victims of Hurricane Harvey, driven to Texas by Hy-Vee drivers.

Youth Development Programs - Family Fare, a SpartanNash company, Culinary Disovery Camps and Restaurant Camps

culinary-discovery-camps-and-restaurant-camp_culinary-camp-students-in-the-kitchenFamily Fare, a SpartanNash company, helps students understand food from farm to table while fine-tuning cooking skills including using a knife, stove and finally serving the prepared meal. SpartanNash donated $5,000 to the Institute of the Culinary Arts to reduce the cost for kids to attend.

People’s Pick Social Media Category Winner - Smart & Final's Grab & Go Food Drives


grab-go-food-drives_associates WEBEach year, the People's Pick is determined by public vote via a Facebook contest hosted by FMI. Smart & Final received the most votes to become the 2017 Community Outreach Award People's Pick winner. During the 2016 holiday season, Smart & Final ran more than 30 Grab & Go programs--inviting customers to donate at checkout and store associates to deliver food. In total, 16,904 Grab & Go bags were donated to 22 food banks and nonprofit organizations, 38,684 pounds of food was donated through customer donations, and 8,000 pounds of food was donated by Smart & Final.