Fighting food insecurity has always been a top priority for 93-year-old grocery retailer Hy-Vee. Within the past several years, the retailer has launched a series of initiatives to feed families in need across its eight-state region and beyond. In 2021, Hy-Vee first set a goal to provide 5 million meals to families in need. What resulted was the Scan Out Hunger campaign that focused customers, suppliers and employees around one cause. Several months later, Hy-Vee launched Food Bank Fridays to help replenish local food banks, which were seeing higher demand due to economic challenges. This campaign resulted in the donation of more than 27 million meals to Feeding America member food banks. As a result of these combined efforts, Hy-Vee was among a select group of grocery retailers invited to attend the 2022 White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health. There, Hy-Vee committed to delivering 30 million meals to vulnerable communities by 2025 and is well on its way toward reaching that goal. On March 1, 2023, Hy-Vee kicked off its ongoing 100 Million Meals Challenge in partnership with Feeding America, announcing a goal to raise enough funds to provide 100 million meals to Feeding America member food banks. In stores, Hy-Vee is hosting register round-ups to collect donations, as well as promoting the campaign on a national level throughout the 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season.
By the end of 2023, Hy-Vee plans to raise enough funds in stores and online to provide 100 million meals to the Feeding America network of partner food banks. Hy-Vee has energized its customers and supplier partners around this cause to make a difference in the lives of millions. Just one dollar helps provide at least 10 meals secured by Feeding America on behalf of local member food banks. Hy-Vee has also been promoting the 100 Million Meals challenge on a national scale throughout the 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season. This initiative will also make an appearance at the Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend on July 21-23. July 23’s Hy-Vee One Step 250 race will pay tribute to the 100 Million Meal Challenge with Feeding America food bank leaders in attendance and a special ceremony to raise awareness about food insecurity.
Hy-Vee is committed to serving a vital role in closing the food insecurity gap in the communities it serves. From food bank donations to annual holiday meal giveaways to the 100 Million Meals Challenge, Hy-Vee continuously plays an instrumental role in the elimination of hunger. Hy-Vee's key objective is to eliminate food insecurity throughout its eight-state region and beyond by increasing at-risk communities’ access to fresh, nutritious food. To accomplish this, Hy-Vee launched a register round-up across all Hy-Vee, Dollar Fresh Market and Hy-Vee Fast & Fresh locations. Customers can round up their purchases to the nearest dollar during checkout to donate to the Challenge. All funds collected at stores go directly to partner food banks serving their local community. Customers can also donate online. Hy-Vee has also enlisted the help of its suppliers to join the cause and benefit its 19 Feeding America partner food banks.
While the 100 Million Meals Challenge is still ongoing, Hy-Vee is already at 30 million meals – well on its way toward reaching its goal. As of July 1, Hy-Vee supports 19Feeding America-affiliated food banks, which support thousands of smaller food pantries nationwide. The Challenge is happening in concert with all of Hy-Vee's food security initiatives, including its Food Bank Fridays campaign, through which customer donations in stores and online raised enough funds to provide more than 27 million meals to Feeding America-affiliated food banks in 2022. Hy-Vee sponsored 16 Food Bank Fridays with a post on Facebook each week highlighting a food bank or supplier partner. Hy-Vee's Scan Out Hunger campaign surpassed its original goal of 5 million meals in only three months, raising enough funds to provide 9.3 million meals. In 2023, Hy-Vee celebrated its sixth annual Hams for the Holidays initiative. In partnership with Hormel, Feeding America member food banks and first responders, Hy-Vee helped distribute 6,600 hams to families in need across the Midwest. Since 2011, Hy-Vee's One Step philanthropic program has donated 19.3 million meals to Meals from the Heartland, a nonprofit that packages nutritious meals to be distributed to individuals in need across the world. In 2022, Hy-Vee partnered with Meals from the Heartland to host a meal packaging event, “Unite for Ukraine,” to provide meals to those located in war-torn areas of Ukraine. A $50,000 donation from the Hy-Vee One Step fund supported the packaging of 300,000 meals for Ukrainians.
“Food insecurity remains a national crisis,” said Jeremy Gosch, CEO of Hy-Vee. “The kickoff to this campaign comes at a crucial time as emergency SNAP benefits end around the country. By working together with our employees, customers, partners and community leaders, we are going to do everything we can to achieve this goal and ensure organizations in our communities have the resources they need to combat hunger.”
“With nearly 34 million people experiencing food insecurity nationwide, ending hunger is a mission that requires strong collaboration and ambitious goals, and we’re grateful to have partners like Hy-Vee who offer just that,” said Casey Marsh, chief development officer for Feeding America. “At a time like this, as families' budgets continue to tighten, it’s exciting to think about the impact that this initiative will have on communities across the Midwest.” “Hy-Vee’s ongoing 100 Million Meals Challenge will provide much needed nutrition for hardworking young families and folks living on fixed incomes,” said Michelle Book, president and CEO of Food Bank of Iowa. “The cash register round-up effort provides an opportunity for all of us to pitch in. By sharing a few cents every time we shop, together we can alleviate hunger in Iowa.”