Community Outreach Awards

By: Melaina Lewis, Manager, Communications, Food Marketing Institute

I’ve spent a great deal of time volunteering in my community and neighboring towns this year. It’s rewarding to make a difference in the place you call home; the more you volunteer the more you find yourself aware of differences others are making too. As neighborhood cornerstones throughout America, grocers host food drives, after-school programs, health and wellbeing initiatives, and other charitable events - all in the spirit of improving their communities.

It’s that time of year again when we like to recognize food retailers as the driving force behind these community and charitable events. Food retailers submit their best practice examples of programs designed to educate and mentor youth; impact the overall health or engagement of a community; or bring a meal to those in underserved areas. To inspire your 2018 nominations, here are a few examples from the 2017 Community Outreach Award Winners:

Skogen's Festival Foods Turkey Trot

Festival Foods employees contribute 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.

Hy-Vee, Inc. Hurricane Relief 

Hy-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 $670,468,26, 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.

Family Fare's Culinary Discovery Camps and Restaurant Camps

Family 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.

Smart & Final's Grab and Go Food Drives

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.   

How has your store benefited your local community? Tell us by submitting your story for the 2018 Community Outreach Awards at, and read more examples of best practices here. The nomination deadline has been extended to October 17, 2018