Company : SpartanNash
Program category : 2016


Starting in October 2015, SpartanNash’s VG’s stores rallied in response to the Flint, Michigan water crisis. Involvement started with the VG’s store in Caro, Michigan, when the store donated 168 cases (2 pallets, or 4,000 bottles) of water to Flint Community Schools at a water drive at the Fenton-Linden football game on October 23, 2015. Following the donation, all 11 VG’s stores challenged the community to match their donation in stores during the week of October 24-31, 2015. Customers could purchase a case of water at any VG’s store, and VG’s would donate the water to Flint Community Schools. In partnership with the community, VG’s donated a total of 207 cases of water to Flint Community Schools on November 12, 2015 from the North Fenton VG’s location. In response to the success of the VG’s water drive and a growing interest with our associates and other store customers, SpartanNash decided to host a water drive across all 91 of our corporate-owned stores in Michigan. Beginning Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, and ending Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, customers at all 91 Michigan D&W, Family Fare, VG’s, ValuLand and Forest Hills Foods stores and Fuel Centers had the opportunity to make cash register donations toward 24-pack cases of Spartan® brand bottled water.


SpartanNash applied 100 percent of the proceeds toward the water donation and covered the cost of the water delivery to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan. SpartanNash delivered the donated water to the Eastern Michigan Food Bank, who worked in partnership with the National Guard to distribute the water to Flint residents.


The Flint water crisis has been an ongoing drinking water contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan, that began in 2014. This crisis received national attention when President Obama declared a state of emergency. In 2014, the City of Flint switched its water supply from the City of Detroit to the Flint River. After the change in water source, the city's drinking water had a series of issues that culminated with lead contamination, creating a serious public health danger. The objective of our water donation was to provide safe, clean drinking water to our neighbors in need in Flint, Michigan. Our donation efforts began with one store’s donation of two pallets of water and quickly spread to all 91 of our Michigan stores, as our store guests sought out ways to help their neighbors in need of clean, safe drinking water.


The VG’s store in Caro donated 168 cases of water and the VG’s water drive resulted in an additional 207 cases of water being donated. The ensuing water drive across all 91 of SpartanNash’s Michigan corporate-owned retail stores resulted in 47,654 cases of water (1.3 million bottles of water or 40 semi-truck loads) being donated to our Flint neighbors at a value of $142,157. SpartanNash’s Teamsters 406, which work out of our Grand Rapids distribution center also sent a semi-trailer of water in addition to SpartanNash’s donation of a full semi-trailer load (1,680 cases per semi-trailer load) in January 2016. We covered the cost of storing and shipping the water purchased by our customers. We delivered the water in multiple smaller allotments so that it could be properly distributed. We also worked with nonprofit groups that collected money (churches, service clubs, foundations, etc.) for water purchases to buy water at wholesale prices.


“When we first learned of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, we donated water to the Flint Community Schools near our VG’s store in Caro. Due to the magnitude of the crisis, we then expanded our donations through all of our VG’s stores on the east side of Michigan. Customers asked how they could help, so we hosted a water drive in all 91 of our Michigan corporate-owned stores in early 2016. In partnership with our customers, we donated 1.3 million bottles of water. We also stored and we delivered 40 semi-truck loads of water as the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan needed it,” said Dennis Eidson, CEO and Chairman of the Board, SpartanNash.

"I love what SpartanNash is doing to help our community. Thank you again for your support, it is greatly appreciated." Tracy Fowler-Johnston, Development Manager, Food Bank of Eastern Michigan

Support Statement:

"I love what SpartanNash is doing to help our community. Thank you again for your support, it is greatly appreciated." Tracy Fowler-Johnston, Development Manager, Food Bank of Eastern Michigan