Beginning in December of 2011, Newport Avenue Market, based in the small mountain town of Bend, Oregon, started “Food for February,” an annual program dedicated to serving the hungry in Central Oregon by relying on cash donations to purchase food in bulk at wholesale prices. Since the program’s inception, every dollar that has been donated by customers has been matched 100% by the market. Every December, the market invites customers to participate in the fundraiser, asking that they donate any dollar amount they’d like. Upon donation, each customer receives a paper plate to proudly display at the store. In January, the market tallies the total donation amount and then matches those funds dollar-for-dollar. With all proceeds going towards local food kitchen organization Family Kitchen, Newport Avenue Market works hand in hand with Unified Grocers, their warehouse, to use the funds to selectively order hundreds of fresh foods, at wholesale prices, from Family Kitchen’s wish list. It is not commonly known that February is one of the hardest hitting months for hungry families in Central Oregon. Money is tight after the holidays; donations dwindle and food pantries are depleted. The “Food for February” program originated based off of the need during that time; and takes place during the season of giving, in which customers most often have the ability to donate.
“Food for February” has more than doubled in size year after year. Newport Avenue Market is expecting to see this trend continue in 2015, and will match donated funds dollar-for-dollar, up to $25,000! “Food for February” by the numbers: • $75,943.63 has been donated since program inception (over the last four years) • A total of 2,340 gallons of milk, 18,720 eggs, 1,560 pounds of Boar’s Head lunch meats, 780 pounds of cheese, 1,770 pounds of bananas, 7,800 pounds of beef, chicken, pork, seafood items, 780 pounds of tomatoes, 200 pounds of hot dogs and 54 #10 cans of chili have been donated, among other items.
Newport Avenue Market has a philosophy that no matter the person's situation, everyone deserves a meal. Observing that the holiday season is a time of giving, especially for the food banks that are flooded with donations, the market wondered, “What happens after the holiday season, when it’s still cold outside, and there are still hungry families?” With this thought in mind, “Food for February” was born. Program objectives include: • Raise money donated by Newport Avenue Market customers to feed the hungry in Central Oregon. • Match raised funds dollar-for-dollar, for a total goal of $50,000. • Work with major brands currently carried in the store, as well as the market’s warehouse, Unified Grocers, to selectively order hundreds of fresh foods, from the organization’s wish list, at wholesale prices. • Continue to serve as one of the largest food donation programs in the tri-county region.
Evaluation of Program Impact and Success - including support data about what makes the project work and a description in measurable terms of the benefit the program has provided for the community (please limit your response to 250 words or less) • “Food for February” has doubled in size year-over-year since its inception. In 2012, $4,025 was raised with a $4,025 match, totaling $8,050. In 2013, $12,668.24 was donated, with a 100% match, totaling $25,336.48. In 2014, an astounding $21,278.57 was raised with a 100% match, totaling $42,557.14. The market hopes to reach the match limit in 2015, totaling $50,000. Those dollars bought groceries at cost from Newport Ave. Market and their vendors, to create meals for the ENTIRE YEAR at Family Kitchen. A total of 2,340 gallons of milk, 18,720 eggs, 1,560 pounds of Boar’s Head lunch meats, 780 pounds of cheese, 1,770 pounds of bananas, 7,800 pounds of beef, chicken, pork, seafood items, 780 pounds of tomatoes, 200 pounds of hot dogs and 54 #10 cans of chili have been donated, among other items. By working with their warehouse and other in-store brands, Newport Avenue Market has been able to stretch the donation dollars, allowing for more food to be purchased in bulk at wholesale prices. The program has been so successful, much in part due to Newport Avenue Market’s loyal and giving customers, who have played an integral role in supporting the program, thus feeding hungry families right in their own neighborhood.
“In 2015, through the generosity of our customers that chose to shop with us and donate to Food for February, Family Kitchen will have fed 57,000 meals. Our customers donated $21,278.57; we matched those funds dollar for dollar, for a total of $42,557.14. Those dollars bought groceries at cost from Newport Ave. Market and our vendors, to create meals for the ENTIRE YEAR at Family Kitchen. Just another reminder of how totally cool (and caring) our loyal customers are! For 2016, our goal is to match our customer's donations up to $25,000, for a grand total of $50,000. At our registers, customers can choose to donate a $1 or more, and we will match their money up to $25,000...talk about a double bang for your buck! - Lauren G. R. Johnson, Leader of the Pack (vrrrooom!) & CEO of Newport Avenue Market