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Company : Hy-Vee, Inc
Program category : Food Insecurity

Origins:

Amidst a pandemic, social upheaval, disasters and school closures, one thing has remained constant in 2020 — hunger. According to Feeding America, 22 million children rely on the National School Lunch Program. Hy-Vee saw an opportunity to address the threat of hunger and food insecurity through its End Summer Hunger campaign in partnership with Kellogg’s and Keurig Dr. Pepper.

This summer, for every qualifying purchase made at a Hy-Vee store on eligible items, one meal was donated to local Feeding America food banks throughout Hy-Vee’s eight-state region. Hy-Vee’s goal was to donate 1.5 million meals (a $150,000 value) to families in need, in addition to helping educate the public on the critical issue of summer hunger and providing ways they can help the cause. 

As Hy-Vee worked to feed children through the summer, disaster struck at the same time. On August 10, the Midwest was besieged by an intense derecho that caused widespread devastation with an estimated 600,000 residents without power anywhere from days to weeks in Iowa. Damage from this single-day storm is estimated to total more than $7.5 billion.

Hy-Vee immediately responded. On August 12, the company announced it would donate fresh produce, milk, water and healthy pantry staples like granola bars and cereal to residents in need across the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, area, which was one of the hardest-hit communities. In partnership with several local food banks, hundreds of volunteers organized by Hy-Vee came together to provide contactless, drive-thru food giveaways on August 13 and 14 to families in need.

Contribution:

End Summer Hunger Campaign and One Step Program

Hy-Vee customers could purchase qualifying products to benefit Hy-Vee One Step, an initiative the retailer started in 2011 that works to increase wellness, sustainability and eliminate food insecurity in at-risk communities. For each item purchased, a meal was donated to a local Feeding America food bank. 

Derecho Relief

Cedar Rapids, Iowa was hit especially hard by the summer derecho, which is why Hy-Vee focused its response efforts initially to that community and its surrounding areas. 

In total, Hy-Vee worked to contribute nearly $312,000 worth of food and water to residents in need throughout eastern Iowa. 

Hy-Vee donated more than 140,000 bottles of water and 80,000 protein bars and granola bars. Hy-Vee also deployed Hy-Vee Healthy You Mobile vans and mobile units so residents who had lost power could charge their phones and other critical technology devices as well as get something to eat during the recovery phase.

Hy-Vee worked quickly with local officials to get the word out about the food giveaways by providing flyers that were inserted into grocery bags, so shoppers could share the news with their families and friends in need. Government officials said that without those flyers, it would have been nearly impossible to reach the community broadly. 

Hy-Vee returned to the community on September 1 for additional relief support, donating 42,000 bottles of water and 13,000 pounds of fresh chicken breasts.

Objectives:

Objectives:

  • Eliminate food insecurity by providing access to fresh, nutritious food to at-risk communities.
  • Quickly mobilize resources and employees to provide relief to residents of Cedar Rapids and other hard-hit communities within 48 hours and continue support as long as the need continues. 

Impact:

Objectives:

  • Eliminate food insecurity by providing access to fresh, nutritious food to at-risk communities.
  • Quickly mobilize resources and employees to provide relief to residents of Cedar Rapids and other hard-hit communities within 48 hours and continue support as long as the need continues. 

Quote:

“The damage inflicted by this storm to our communities is unlike anything we’ve seen in a long time, as it cut such a wide path across the state and hit so many areas. The damage was especially severe in the Cedar Rapids area, and we quickly sprang into action to get food and water to those residents as they began to clean up their neighborhoods during the recovery process.”

-Randy Edeker, chairman of the board, CEO and president of Hy-Vee