Meijer made significant strides in its hunger relief efforts last year, completing the rollout of its food rescue program across the Midwest.With the addition of eight food bank partnerships, the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer is now able to donate quality food that would otherwise go to waste at its stores in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky, said Doug Meijer, co-chairman of the retailer.
"We are very excited about what these partnerships represent: Another way to get good food to those who are hungry," Meijer said. "Not only are we helping with hunger relief, our program provides healthy choices to a greater number of people who rely on food banks for their meals."
The Meijer food rescue program helps increase the total tonnage of food delivered to local food banks while ensuring that quality food doesn't go to waste. More than 3.2 million pounds – or more than 2.6 million meals – were donated by Meijer this year to local food banks.
The eight food banks the retailer added this year to its program include:
Food Gatherers in Ann Arbor, Michigan
Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan in Detroit, Michigan
Second Harvest Food Bank of Clark, Champaign and Logan Counties in Springfield, Ohio
Shared Harvest Foodbank in Fairfield, Ohio
Cleveland Foodbank in Cleveland, Ohio
Food Bank of Northwest Indiana in Gary, Indiana
Central Illinois Foodbank in Springfield, Illinois
Peoria Area Food Bank in Peoria, Illinois
"Our Meijer partnership has been invaluable as it has allowed us to reach a growing number of families in need across our service area," said Keith Williamson, executive director of Second Harvest Food Bank in Springfield, Ohio. "It is just another valuable piece of solving the 'hunger puzzle,' allowing us to provide healthy choice center-of-plate protein items, as well as grains and vegetables."
Meijer began its food rescue program in 2008 with food banks picking up fresh food – meat, cheese and select deli and bakery items – from 29 Meijer stores in southeast Michigan. It has since grown corporate-wide with all its 204 stores now able to support a rescue food bank.
Participating food banks pick up fresh food from their local Meijer store 2-3 days per week. An estimated 2,400 products are available to donate to food banks.