Farm Fresh launches back-to-school challenge supporting hunger relief
Jordan Crawford | 8/19/2014, 12:19 p.m.
Farm Fresh Food & Pharmacy, a longtime local grocer, is invoking the help of its shoppers to meet an urgent need for donations at area food banks with the Farm Fresh “Back-to-School Challenge,” a food drive the company launched last week to help bolster hunger relief efforts throughout the communities it serves.
The Back-to-School Challenge, which will run through the end of September, offers Farm Fresh shoppers the opportunity to provide a grocery bag of food containing items from the 10 greatest need list to local food banks by making a $5 donation at the cash register. All Farm Fresh locations throughout Virginia and North Carolina will participate in the program.
“As a company with close ties to the communities we serve, when our partners at area food banks let us know the dire need they have right now for food donations, we immediately took action to organize a food drive,” said Micky Nye, president of Farm Fresh. “We’re hopeful the program will make a big impact on providing families in need with food to help them transition into the busy back-to-school season.”
A traditionally slow time for donations, this summer Virginia food banks have seen a significant increase in demand for emergency food supplies, according to Joanne Batson, chief executive officer at the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore.
“It has been particularly tough keeping our shelves stocked this season,” Batson said. “We truly appreciate our generous partners at Farm Fresh for their quick thinking and for coming together with the community to do what they can to help us feed our neighbors who are struggling.”
Karen Joyner, chief executive officer at Virginia Peninsula Foodbank, is optimistic the Back-to-School Challenge can help to supplement donations during a traditionally high-demand, yet underserved time.
“Over the past two years, the donations we’ve received during June, July and August — a quarter of the calendar year — has accounted for a mere 9 percent of our annual resources,” Joyner said. “However, the summer brings increased demand as children are out of school and not receiving free or reduced price meals. We are so grateful to Farm Fresh and to the community for stepping up to help during this critical time.”
In addition to the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia, the Eastern Shore and the Virginia Peninsula Foodbanks, the Farm Fresh Back-to-School Challenge will benefit FeedMore, which serves 31 counties across Central Virginia, and the Food Bank of the Albemarle.
“The Back-to-School Challenge is another exciting way that our local Farm Fresh stores are partnering with us to fight hunger in our community,” said Douglas Pick, FeedMore chief executive officer.
“Farm Fresh’s effort to call our communities to action will go a long way in helping restock food bank shelves throughout Virginia,” said Liz Reasoner, executive director, Food Bank of Albemarle.
Throughout the food drive, each Farm Fresh store will aim to secure a minimum of 500 donated bags of food per week, a quantity that will provide approximately 900 meals per store location each week to help feed those in need. For more information and to find a participating Farm Fresh location, visit www.FarmFreshSupermarkets.com.