Company : The GIANT Company
Program category : Food

Origins:

Every time The GIANT Company opens a new store, the company seeks out local nonprofits and community organizations that can help it make a positive impact in the lives of its neighbors, especially in eliminating hunger. When the company opened its second GIANT Heirloom Market in the city of Philadelphia, bringing its new smaller urban format store to University City, it found the food-redistribution startup Sharing Excess at Drexel University just a few blocks away. Sharing Excess addresses food insecurity by delivering regular surplus from grocery stores, restaurants, wholesalers, and farmers to communities in need in Philadelphia. It was clear that the two organizations were a natural fit for a partnership. The GIANT Company signaled its new commitment to Sharing Excess at the grand opening of the University City GIANT Heirloom Market in August 2019 with a $2,500 monetary donation. At the same time, the store also began donating its surplus food to the organization. Since 2019, The GIANT Company has deepened its partnership with Sharing Excess through additional philanthropic contributions, volunteer support, and a growing number of stores participating in the food redistribution program. Two stores with tap walls have donated a portion of their tips, and the company even collaborated with Evil Genius Beer Company in 2020 to produce a specialty brew benefiting Sharing Excess, raising $5,532 as of the end of 2021. This previous involvement set the stage for the company’s annual Hunger Action Month activities in September 2021 to include Sharing Excess. This support continued through the holiday season.

Contribution:

As part of The GIANT Company’s annual Hunger Action Month initiatives, a group of GIANT team member volunteers packed 500 bags worth of product donations for Sharing Excess to distribute. In addition, a joint pop-up event in West Philadelphia featured the company’s donation of $10,000, a 26-foot refrigerated truck, and an additional 400 bags of product. Fifteen GIANT team members helped hand out the bags of food to neighbors in need. Hunger Action Month’s momentum continued through Thanksgiving with a donation of 300 turkeys to Sharing Excess, which were distributed by eight GIANT volunteers at another joint pop-up event. Additionally, The GIANT Company provides the opportunity for customers to round up their purchases at checkout to benefit their local food bank or pantry. With the recent openings of GIANT on Cottman Ave., Columbus Blvd., and GIANT Heirloom Market Fashion District, round-up funds go directly to Sharing Excess.

Objectives:

The GIANT Company is committed to Connecting Families for a Better Future—it drives all the company does and underscores its year-round focus on providing easy, affordable meal solutions for today’s families. The company believes time shared during meals builds stronger families and, in turn, stronger communities, and truly has the power to change the world. Because sharing a meal can be challenging for many neighbors who struggle with food insecurity, The GIANT Company has made eliminating hunger one of its pillars of corporate social responsibility. To benefit its hunger-fighting partner Sharing Excess, the company’s 2021 Hunger Action Month and holiday season activities included the following objectives:

  • Support and enhance Sharing Excess’s work eliminating hunger by providing in-kind and monetary donations.
  • Mobilize the company’s constituents to eliminate hunger by donating to Sharing Excess through round-up at the register.
  • Encourage team members to advance Sharing Excess’s mission by providing volunteer service.

Impact:

Beginning with the Hunger Action Month push in September 2021 through the conclusion of the round-up at the register campaign in December 2021, The GIANT Company provided Sharing Excess with the following:

  • $27,518.41 total dollars donated (includes monetary donation, round-up donations, value of 900 product donation bags and value of 300 turkeys).
  • A 26-foot refrigerated truck that will enhance the organization’s future operations (valued at $10,000).
  • More than 70 volunteer hours packing and distributing food. In addition to the 2021 Hunger Action Month and fall initiatives, through participating stores, The GIANT Company diverted 512,013 pounds of surplus food through Sharing Excess and donated $5,992 in tap wall tips since the partnership first began in August 2019. Since October 2020, Paul Madarieta, Regional Director at The GIANT Company, has served as a Sharing Excess board member. He has helped Sharing Excess network and generate additional support within the grocery industry as a whole. In addition, other members of The GIANT Company’s leadership helped Sharing Excess’ Executive Director and Founder Evan Ehlers leverage a relationship with the food marketing department at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, giving him a platform to talk about his work and mission. This opened Sharing Excess to an even larger network of potential partners. Since it was founded at Drexel University as a student start up in March 2018, Sharing Excess has grown into a national food redistribution movement with chapters on 12 college campuses.

Quote:

“The GIANT Company seeks to be a community partner to all of our store neighborhoods, helping families come together at their table and connect over a meal, including those families struggling with food insecurity. We were immediately impressed with the determination and innovative spirit of Sharing Excess as it works to address the challenges of hunger in Philadelphia and look forward to a continued partnership that makes a real impact on the city and its families.” – Nicholas Bertram, President, The GIANT Company

“Sharing Excess is proud to partner with The GIANT Company to fight food insecurity in Philadelphia. When GIANT Heirloom Market first opened near Drexel’s campus in 2019, we were excited that Drexel students finally had access to a market that truly cares about healthy, local, and affordable food options, just a few steps away from the heart of campus. We’re pleased that our collaborative work to reduce food waste and serve communities in need has grown from a single store to multiple locations across the city. Partnerships like these are helping us grow our endeavor into a national movement.” - Evan Ehlers, Executive Director and Founder, Sharing Excess