On Tuesday, June 4, ALDI hosted its third annual Disaster Relief Packing Event at the ALDI Batavia Headquarters in partnership with Feeding America and the Northern Illinois Food Bank. Employees packed more than 4,000 boxes filled with ALDI-exclusive products. These boxes were strategically shipped across the country to locations recently affected by natural disasters. Specifically, boxes were sent to areas affected by flooding and tornados in Dayton, OH, Kansas City, MO, Oklahoma City, OK, Little Rock, AR, and St, Louis, MO. Additionally, ALDI donated $100,000 to Feeding America to support communities at risk of natural disasters.
Just over 800 ALDI employees participated to pack more than 4,000 boxes of ALDI-exclusive products. Each box contained 30 varieties of shelf-stable food with items ranging from canned fruits, vegetables, soups, granola bars, peanut butter, dried berries as well as bowls and utensils. Employee volunteers included a personalized, handwritten note with words of encouragement to help lift the spirits of receiving the boxes. Costs include $125,000 in ALDI-exclusive products, $8,000 for boxes, labels and tape, $10,000 in transportation to ship 730 boxes to 5 regional Feeding America food banks. In addition the set-up of the event included tents, tables, dollies and hand trucks at a cost of $9,500. The over-all cost of the project was almost $155,000. In addition, ALDI donated $100,000 to support Feeding America disaster relief efforts to ensure they had the necessary staff, equipment and transportation to deliver the ALDI boxes to communities in the most need.
As one of the leading grocers in the U.S., we feel it is our responsibility to support the communities where we are located and our customers live and work. One way we do this is to partner with Feeding America to support their disaster relief efforts. We hold our employee packing event the first week of June, just prior to hurricane and tornado season. The intent is to send the packed boxes to Feeding America warehouses in locations that are prone to natural disasters. Then, when disaster strikes, these boxes are readily available and can quickly be sent to local communities to provide assistance in the immediate aftermath of the disaster. By having these boxes available, it provides the team at Feeding America with a quick response and gives them the opportunity to assess the overall need and reach out to ALDI and other partners with a specific request for donations.
First and foremost we work with Feeding America to track where the boxes were distributed after a natural disaster. In some cases, our boxes have been moved to another state to assist an intense recovery issue. In 2017, in partnership with United Airlines we flew more than 700 boxes to Puerto Rico from the Feeding America warehouse in New Jersey. Last year, we shipped boxes from Florida to assist with hurricane relief in North and South Carolina. This year, in addition to the event at our corporate offices, we will pack an additional 3,000 boxes in our Haines City, FL, Moreno Valley, CA and Rosenberg, TX offices which add up to more than 7,000 boxes to assist Feeding America with their disaster relief efforts. We also rely on anecdotal messages from the member agencies of Feeding America that are hands on when they distribute the ALDI-packed boxes. For example, the St. Louis Area Food Bank delivered boxes to one flooded Missouri town by boat. This was the only method available since all of the local roads were flooded. They explained the situation as dire and that this donation could not have come at a better time. Each household in this small community was able to receive one or two of these boxes to sustain them until the flooding receded enough to have vehicle access.
At ALDI, we know being a smarter grocery store involves more than providing high-quality products at low prices. It means caring deeply about the communities and families our stores serve. From providing affordable, healthy food options, to supporting philanthropic initiatives, we are committed to helping people live happy and healthy lives. We’re proud to be an ongoing Feeding America partner and to support its mission to end hunger. This partnership has allowed us to positively impact our local communities through food donations while also supporting our goal to limit environmental impact by reducing food waste. Last year, our stores across the country donated more than 28 million pounds of food through our Food Recovery Program, helping thousands of people during times they needed it most.