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The Great Pantry Makeover…Fighting Hunger One Pantry at a Time

Company: Food Lion
Program category: Programs Addressing Food Insecurity

Origins:

Building on the foundation of our Food Lion Feeds philanthropic platform we launched last year and continuing our commitment to help eliminate the choice those in our communities have to make when they are hungry, Food Lion undertook a new program this year called The Great Pantry Makeover…Fighting Hunger One Pantry at a Time. 

 In honor of Feeding America's® Hunger Action Month™, we wanted to offer our associates an opportunity to give back in our local communities as part of an associate volunteer event, while making a sustainable impact in our communities.  As a result, we launched The Great Pantry Makeover, where we set out to makeover 30 pantries in 30 days in the 10-states in which we operate, and give back 1,200 service hours to leave our communities a better place.

During the month, hundreds of associates volunteered their time and energy to expand, refurbish and restock 38 local food pantries in Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

In addition to stocking shelves with food donations, the makeovers included cleaning and painting pantries, installing new shelving to expand storage capacity, and even donating new refrigerators and freezers, so that pantries can offer fresh produce and frozen food to individuals and families in the community.  And, after the refurbishment, each pantry makeover included a product donation to restock the shelves.  Throughout the month-long event, we exceeded our goals by donating 1.7 million meals, 1,400 service hours and 38 pantries.

  • Food Lion 2015 COA
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  • Food Lion COA 2015

Contribution:

Food Lion donated paint, shelving, equipment such as refrigerators, freezers and other items, as well as food and much more, resulting in 1.7 million meals though these initiatives alone.  In addition, we donated 1,400 retail service hours where our retail team went into each of their local communities and pantries to help refurbish pantries. Also, Food Lion's annual leadership meeting fell during September the more than 200 leaders took an afternoon and traveled to eight area pantries for mobile food donations and pantry refurbishment.  We also made a product donation in honor of our Founder, Mr. Ralph W. Ketner, to Rowan Helping Ministries, which he helped start, as well as had the Food Lion senior leadership team serve lunch to those in the community who come for a free lunch.  Mr. Ketner was so honored, and it was a special event too.

Objectives:

During The Great Pantry Makeover, we set out to accomplish the following:

  • Raise awareness about hunger issues in our community during Hunger Action Month by engaging our associates and community partners, and telling our story through local press, Lion's Tale blog, Food Lion News and Food Lion Twitter handles and Facebook.
  • Create a month-long associate volunteer event (last year was only a week) to engage associates with hunger-relief efforts and help local agencies near their stores.
  • Expand much-needed capacity at local feeding agencies and help to serve more people and increase capacity to offer more fresh produce and meats to their clients.
  • Provide volunteer hours to refurbish these facilities for clients with the goal of completing 30 pantries in 30 days.
  • Continue progress toward our commitment of donating more than 500 million meals by the end of 2020.Of note, we surpassed 100 million meals in September!

Impact:

Our second annual associate volunteer event and first annual The Great Patnry Makeover far exceeded expectations we originally set out.  First, we refurbished or served 38 pantries during the month and exceeded our original goal of volunteer service hours of 1,200 to 1,400 hours. 

The feedback we received from local agencies and food bank partners was amazing. They were appreciative of the changes we made and amazed at how we were able to help them logistics, food stocking and organizing and expand their capacity in such a short timeframe. 

 The positive impact was felt in our 10-state footprint as many of the pantries would not have received funds to update their facility if it were not for this initiative.  In September, Food Lion Feeds provided more than 1.7 million meals through product and equipment donations, helping work toward achieving our goal of providing 500 million meals to hungry families by the year 2020.

As we told our stories in the local market to press, we reach more than 8.8 million readers and viewers through print, broadcast and online news outlets. 

The project also created connections with the feeding agencies for future partnerships leaving the community a better place for those in need.  Many of our associates, food bank partners and customers also used social media to help spread the word about Hunger Action Month and Food Lion Feeds "The Great Pantry Makeover," often using the hashtag #foodlionfeeds and #greatpatnrymakeover. Associates appreciated the opportunity to give back and were so proud to serve their community through this event.

Quote:

"Giving back to our communities is part of who we are as a company and something we are just as passionate about as serving our customers in our stores," said Meg Ham, Food Lion president. "Hunger Action Month provides a great opportunity for us to celebrate a month of service through The Great Pantry Makeover, so our associates can spend time in our communities remodeling and restocking local food pantries to help them continue to provide food to people who are making tough choices because they’re struggling with hunger."