Company: ShopRite Supermarkets Inc.
Program category: Programs Addressing Food Insecurity

Origins:

In support of its’ mission, “To care deeply about people, helping them to eat well and be happy”, ShopRite Supermarkets, Inc. (SRS) has collaborated with many food pantries in New York’s Hudson Valley. While ShopRite appreciates every item customers donate, the nutrition profile of some foods can be less than ideal. Donations are often high in calories, added sugars, sodium, saturated fats, and cholesterol and low in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and healthier fats.

With this in mind, SRS and Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Eat Smart New York (ESNY) program recognized an opportunity to educate the public about better choices and bringing those foods to people in need. Created by ESNY, Nourish Your Neighbor (NYN) is food drive initiative aimed at making healthy foods available to everyone in the community.

In 2016, ShopRite was honored to be the first retailer to execute a NYN food drive at the ShopRite of Dolson Avenue. Through reusable shopping bags, flyers, and signs, customers were educated about healthier, non-perishable choices from each food group. In addition to single items, prepackaged bags were created to make donating easier for customers. The store management also signed a pledge stating their commitment to the NYN campaign. With the support of the management team, cashiers, store dietitian, and representatives from ESNY, the food drive generated over $700 in sales and 300 pounds of food donations. On the heels of this success, ShopRite and ESNY began to plan for more NYN food drives at additional stores.

Contribution:

To ensure the success of NYN programs at store level. ShopRite contributes in several ways. By inviting the ESNY team into our stores it exposes the program to the thousands of customers that walk through our doors daily. In addition, ShopRite provides in-kind donations during the events to entice customers to participate in the program. The stores cashiers, registered dietitian and management team help create awareness during the food drives by interacting with customers. To increase awareness of events ShopRite promotes the program on social and traditional media platforms as well as in-store signage and marketing. Local food pantries that have benefited from this food drive include, but are not limited to, Hope Community Services, New Rochelle NY, Saint Francis Food Pantry and Backpack program, Newburgh New York, and Interfaith Emergency Food Pantry, Pleasantville NY.

Objectives:

Like many others, the Hudson Valley region has a growing number of individuals and families who suffer from chronic disease and obesity. Lack of education, money, transportation, and other resources all contribute to the declining health of a community. To combat this, Nourish Your Neighbor works to make systematic and environmental changes regarding the types of foods donated to emergency food centers. Through NYN food drives, ESNY and ShopRite combine their resources to achieve the following objectives:

  • Educate the public about healthier food choices for themselves and their families through the United States Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate logo
  • Shift the practice of donating nutrient poor convenience foods to healthier ones
  • Create awareness about ShopRite and ESNY’s commitment to correcting food insecurity in their surrounding communities

Impact:

Between 2016 and 2017, ESNY and ShopRite collected data from their Nourish Your Neighbor efforts. In total, 1,849 patrons were exposed to nutrition education through NYN signs, handouts, fliers, and other visual aids. Additionally, pre and post surveys measuring awareness were conducted at eight NYN food drives at five ShopRite locations. Altogether, the NYN events collected approximately 3,200 pounds of nutrient dense foods that were later distributed to food pantries and school district backpack programs throughout the Hudson Valley. The entirety of donations resulted in an increase of approximately 75% more nutrient dense foods available at local emergency food programs. With these positive results, the goal is to conduct NYN food drives in 26 ShopRite stores throughout January 2018, when food pantry donations often decrease after the busy holiday season. Although the campaign will be executed on a larger scale, the donations will remain local to the food pantries nearest to the stores.

Quote:

“Our purpose at ShopRite is to care deeply about people, helping them eat well and be happy. I truly believe that our partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Eat Smart New York program is a perfect example of putting our purpose into action. ShopRite prides itself on not only being a place to shop but also being an active participant in improving the lives of people in our communities. We are sensitive to the needs our neighbors. Since food insecurity is a large focus for our charitable work, we were thrilled to collaborate on a food drive that not only feeds our neighbors but nourishes them at the same time.” --Brett Wing President and COO ShopRite Supermarkets, Inc.

“Emergency food pantry coordinators have seen it all: expired foods, crushed cans, ripped boxes, and meal choices they would not serve anyone. At food pantries, volunteers work along with paid staff to assist those in need with their food collection. These patrons are our friends and neighbors - just because they are hungry does not mean they should receive less quality food or meals that one would not serve their own family. Food pantries often serve individuals who have one or more chronic diseases. We know that quality foods cannot only help regulate their disease, but also help them maintain a proper body weight. Nourish Your Neighbor is helping to make that possible by educating donors and consumers about the benefits of healthy food. Thank you Eat Smart New York and ShopRite for helping us feed our neighbors.” --Rena Murray Salvation Army Food Pantry and Soup Kitchen