There is a need for food in the Western Wisconsin community so that no one goes hungry; produce in particular to help positively impact the health of those who are food insecure. A produce survey to pantry customers was conducted in the spring of 2016 and it asked what the top fruits and vegetables desired were. Result - strawberries, apples, oranges, grapes, bananas, blueberries, watermelon, onions, tomatoes, lettuce, potatoes and sweet corn. With these results a produce donation program was created this summer with the help of a United Way food banks at associates from SapartanNash Family Fresh Market in Hudson, WI.
The goal is to provide local food bank (The Food Resource Center) with healthy, fresh produce for 13 St. Croix Valley and Pierce County food pantry’s, a domestic abuse shelter and homeless shelter. Family Fresh adopted a second community partner, a group of youth from the local high school passionate about ending food insecurity to create budget friendly produce forward healthy recipes using private label Our Family items each month for pantry clients.
The objective is to collect at least 12 different produce items to donate twice per week. In order to ensure clients know how to use produce items, the objective of the recipes created is that they go home with each client every time the shop the pantry in their community.
Since inception four months ago nearly 16,000 pounds valued at nearly $16,000 have been donated. Family Fresh also took park in a summer social media campaign by The Cranberry Institute sharing the health benefits of cranberries (a produce item donated) and drawing awareness of our involvement with the community pantries to earn the food bank $1,000. Family Fresh has also been able to accommodate the purchase of 48 gallons of milk per week from the United Way to support pantry families in need.
Press release in Hudson Star Observer in August: “Family Fresh Market is excited to work with United Way St. Croix Valley to make a positive, healthy impact for those in the community who need it most. So far in 2017, our partnership has resulted in $8,500 worth of produce donated to the John Coughlin Food & Resource Center, supporting our company’s commitment to corporate responsibility in the communities we serve.” - Tom Swanson, SpartanNash VP, Retail West Division