By: Leslie G. Sarasin, President and CEO, FMI
Great communities across the country have a few things in common; they share the quality of watching out for all within their sphere in good times and bad, remaining sensitive, sympathetic and vigilant to addressing the diverse needs of their neighbors.
Their caring actions take many shapes, helping feed the food insecure, developing educational efforts to support the growth of local youth or taking needed steps to ensure the elderly have adequate access to nutritional food products. The ear mark of a great community is demonstrated in the ways it engages its inhabitants across the boundaries of age, gender, ethnicity, or economic status.
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. It is the vital outlet necessary to support the efforts of local providers. 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. How many times have you bumped into your friends, neighbors, and town officials in your local store and had meaningful conversations with them?
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. 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.
Each year at FMI, we take a moment to recognize food retailers and the innovation they bring to acts of kindness. It’s my pleasure to announce this year’s winners of recognition we call Grocers Doing Good in their Neighborhoods. Our Community Outreach Awards recognize the usually unmentioned contributions grocers make to enhance the communities they serve.
Congratulations to the 2020 Community Outreach Awards Winners
Youth Development Program
- Winner: Northgate Gonzalez Market: Familia Gonzalez Reynoso 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
- Honorable Mention: Menomonie Market Food Co-Op: Double Dollars
Neighborhood Health Improvement Programs
- Winner: Giant Food: Ward 8 Initiative
- Honorable Mention: Hy-Vee gives back through COVID-19 and civil unrest relief
Our thanks to all the winners for your leadership and commitment to upholding the fundamental mission of this industry to feed and enrich society. Please know that YOU ARE making a difference.