Corporations

Meet the Community Partner: Wegmans

The Chester County Food Bank is largely able to accomplish its goal of combating food insecurity in our communities thanks to donations from generous individuals, the dedication of our volunteers and our amazing staff. Additionally, there are some larger organizations and companies whose continued support has given us significant boosts to achieve the goals set forth in our mission.

One of these companies is Wegmans, a chain of family-owned grocery stores located across the East Coast. Community involvement is a big part of the Wegmans brand, and we are very fortunate to have developed a strong relationship with two of its Chester County locations.

Through various initiatives, the Downingtown Wegmans and Malvern Wegmans together have donated more than three-quarters of a million dollars ($736,702 to be exact!) to the Chester County Food Bank since 2010.

Anne Shuniak, CCFB’s marketing and communications manager, says, “Wegmans is our most dedicated grocery store partner, contributing time, talent and treasure.”

Each year from October through December, Wegmans hosts the Care About Hunger (also called Check Out Hunger or Food2Feed, regionally) campaign across its stores. This initiative encourages customers and employees to contribute single-digit monetary donations at checkout, and is a great example of how small measures can really add up. Because Wegmans is such a high-volume grocery store, even $1 or $5 donations can add up to an amazing number if enough people get on board. Last year, Wegmans presented CCFB with a check for $152,793 at the end of the campaign!

 

This year’s Care About Hunger campaign kicked off October 22 and will run through December 23. The Downingtown and Malvern stores have set a lofty goal to beat last year’s number, and believe that if people work together, they can accomplish anything they put their minds to.

In addition to the Care About Hunger program, Wegmans donates a tractor trailer full of food at least once a year and volunteers with us throughout the year. We also have a partnership with the Wegmans Culinary Team, who helps prepare meals for our Emergency Response Program.

So much of this strong partnership between Wegmans and CCFB is thanks to Jose Frazer, an area service manager with Wegmans, who has been committed to us since the beginning. In October 2017 Jose took his support of CCFB to the next level and joined our board of directors.

“The cool thing is that the Food Bank and Wegmans share the same values,” said Frazer. “Ultimately, my success at Wegmans is because I have those values, too—helping out the community, community service and just helping other people—that’s what we do. We want to make sure people are healthy, have work/life balance … for me, being on the Food Bank board just brings it full circle.”

We are so thankful for Jose’s and Wegmans’ continued dedication to our friends and neighbors in need in Chester County!

Want to learn more? Sign up for our newsletter and stay connected. You can also donate foodfunds and time to help us achieve our mission! Call (610) 873-6000 to speak to someone about getting involved or request a tour. Thanks to you, we’re growing a healthier community.

The Chester County Food Bank is the central hunger relief organization serving more than 120 food cupboards, meal sites and social service organizations throughout Chester County. We mobilize our community to ensure access to real, healthful food.

Emily Kovach

Photos, top to bottom: Chester County Food Bank (first two photos); Ed Williams

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2017 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness. 

CCFB and Whole Foods Market Exton: A Tasty Partnership for Good

Exton is abuzz with the news that Whole Foods Market is set to open in town on Thursday, January 18. This is a great development for the region, not only because the 50,000-square-foot market will provide an amazing array of produce, meats, dairy, prepared foods and more (with a local focus, when possible), but because Whole Foods Market is a dedicated community partner in all of the areas in which it has locations.

For example, it’s kicking things off in anticipation of the Exton store opening with an exciting promotion. During the next few weeks leading up to the grand opening, Whole Foods Market is teaming up with a number of local organizations and food-focused businesses to give away Mystery Gift Cards! These secret savings cards are Whole Foods Market gift cards loaded with amounts anywhere between $5 and $100. You won’t find out how much your card is worth until you’re checking out at the register. These Mystery Gift Cards are only valid from January 18–February 4.

Chester County Food Bank is one of the stops on this fun-filled local tour, which offers an opportunity to give back to our neighbors in need:

  • On Monday, January 15, which is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, from 9 a.m.–4 p.m., drop off a food donation at the Food Bank and pick up a Mystery Gift Card! (Available to the first 300 people). Though you may have just given to us during the holidays or with an end-of-year gift, food insecurity continues as an issue for many of our neighbors all year long. Deep winter can be especially tough for families and seniors, whose costs of living can dramatically increase as heating bills go up. Our most needed items are nonperishable goods, such as canned tuna, canned chicken, canned fruit, peanut butter, beans and cereal. (Please, no homemade goods, glass jars or expired food.) Once you’ve dropped off your donation, you’re invited to stay and enjoy on-site kids’ activities and snacks from the Whole Foods Market 365 Everyday Value brand.

Later in the month, there will be another great opportunity to make a huge impact on CCFB through Whole Foods Market:

  • On Wednesday, January 24, Chester County Food Bank will be the recipient of Whole Foods Market in Exton’s 5% Day, when 5 percent of the day’s sales will be donated to us. If there are pantry staples you need to stock back up on after the holidays, vitamins or supplements you’ve been eyeing or it’s just time for your weekly shopping trip, we urge you to come in that day to help your money work overtime to benefit CCFB. Some of the Food Bank crew will be at the store along with programming and kids’ activities throughout the day in the store.

The Whole Foods Market team is just as excited as we are about this partnership. Alison Marcantuno, the Exton team store leader, says, “We are proud to partner with the Chester County Food Bank for Whole Foods Market Exton’s first Community Giving Day on Wednesday, January 24. Chester County Food Bank’s work to combat hunger by providing access to real and healthy food aligns well with Whole Foods Market’s core values. We are excited to help raise money to support their important mission, and hope the community will shop with us on January 24!”

Help us welcome Whole Foods Market to Exton while giving back to CCFB’s mission to ensure access to real, healthy food in our communities!

Want to learn more? Sign up for our newsletter and stay connected. You can also donate foodfunds and time to help us achieve our mission. Call (610) 873-6000 to speak to someone about getting involved or request a tour. Thanks to you, we’re growing a healthier community.

The Chester County Food Bank is the central hunger relief organization serving more than 120 food cupboards, meal sites and social service organizations throughout Chester County. We mobilize our community to ensure access to real, healthy food.

Emily Kovach

Photos: Whole Foods Market

The Power of a Neighbor: Wegmans’ “Check Out for Hunger” Campaign for the Chester County Food Bank

Jose Frazer is modest about his role in the process to end hunger in Chester County. As an 11-year employee of Wegmans Food Markets, Jose, area service manager, beams, “I love working for Wegmans. Coming from the restaurant business, I started in the cheese department here. This company provides so much of a positive environment—not only for the employees, but also in their commitment and hands-on involvement in the local community as well.”

Celebrating 100 years as a family-owned company this year, the Wegmans Downingtown and Malvern stores recently presented the Chester County Food Bank with a check for $120,367 and a truckload of nearly 18,000 pounds of nonperishable food as a result of the “Check Out for Hunger” campaign, which ran from October through December 2015.

As part of the campaign, both customers and employees contributed single-digit monetary donations at checkout. “Of course we provided the cashiers with incentives such as gift cards, dinner packages, coffee, tea and candy prizes—but we also shared videos and personal stories of how some of us were personally affected by hunger or food programs growing up,” shares Jose. “I grew up in Philadelphia. My own family sometimes relied on churches, food bank programs and valued neighbors to make ends meet. I’ve experienced firsthand knowing the value of a crucial partnership such as Wegmans and the Chester County Food Bank,” he added, bringing his point home.

WEGMANS RECLAM TRUCK 2016 (12)

Jose continues with praise of the teams of cashiers “who went over and above with their dedication to get customers involved in the donation process.” Regionally, the Wegmans teams raised $41,730 more than last year, with the Downingtown and Malvern stores showing an increase in donations of over $28,000. Working with the Food Bank for the past five years, Jose explains, “The competition between stores is great because in the end it benefits the people who need it most.”

Additionally, the employees who raised the highest amounts were given the opportunity to help unload and organize 20 pallets of food, including canned soups, vegetables and fruit, peanut butter, canned tuna, cereal and juice, at the Food Bank’s Exton distribution center.

WEGMANS RECLAM TRUCK 2016 (59)

Larry Welsch, executive director of the Food Bank, reflects, “When the Chester County Food Bank started operations in 2009, Wegmans was the friendly neighbor that stopped by with the welcome basket—well, more like a welcome truckload of food. They have been the neighbor that we can depend on. We have never taken their generosity for granted, and each year that we are the recipient of Check Out Hunger we are truly grateful beyond words. We are thankful to be one of the many food banks that Wegmans supports regionally with their corporate giving programs. In order to tackle food insecurity, we have to do it together.”

Anne Shuniak, community engagement and marketing manager, adds, “We also appreciate each and every employee who made this annual campaign a success. Jose is not only a manager who motivates—he’s an example of an individual who gets involved to make a difference. He truly gets what it means to have the support of good neighbors. His smile is contagious and his attitude an inspiration. I value our professional relationship immensely.”

These community partnerships are like the neighbors we come to depend on to hopefully one day end hunger. With the unending generous support of the Wegmans Food Market family, the Chester County Food Bank is one step closer to doing just that.