Nourishing Our Neighbors in a Sustainable Way
Deborah Cohill knows the importance of receiving nutritious, safe, donated food and the impact it can make on the lives of children.
Cohill works as the executive director of the Interfaith Coalition in Hancock, Md., and one of her responsibilities is to feed kids after they return home from an afterschool program.
“There is a lot of poverty here in Hancock, Md., and some of these children only eat when they are at school,” she said during an interview at the agency’s after-school site. “I don’t know if Food Lion associates understand the impact they are making in helping these children.”
This act is product of Food Lion’s groundbreaking Food Rescue program. More than 20 years ago, Food Lion became the first retailer to introduce a food rescue program where safe-to-eat food is donated to local food banks and agencies before it perishes.
Matthew Johnson, a produce manager at Food Lion’s Park Road store in Charlotte, said the food rescue program is all about giving back to the community.
“Instead of throwing out things that the store would normally dispose of, whether it is something out of code or with blemishes, we pack it up and donate it to a local feeding organization to feed our neighbors in need,” Johnson said. “This happens daily and we have an assigned organization to come and pick up the food.”
Johnson added “There are a lot of local neighbors out there that don’t have access to food so instead of just throwing everything out, we are giving back to the community. We’re just trying to help however we can.”
Utilizing strict food safety guidelines developed in partnership with Feeding America®, Food Lion works closely with its more than 30 local food bank partners to assign smaller agencies that pick-up food rescue items at each of Food Lion’s more than 1,000 stores.
These items include everything from fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, dairy products to fresh bakery and shelf-stable food throughout the year to help end hunger in the towns and cities Food Lion serves.
And the impact has been enormous.
In 2018 alone, Food Lion donated 88 million pounds of food through our food rescue program. Within the last five years, the company has donated more than 266 million pounds of food from across our stores.
We’re proud to have been an industry pioneer in this effort and have worked with many other grocery retailers to start their own successful food rescue programs. “Just seeing the organizations come in and how grateful they are, you know the people they are feeding are feeling the same way knowing you’ve changed someone’s life for just a day means a lot to me,” Johnson said.
At Food Lion, we’re proud to nourish families and set them up for success in life, and our food rescue program is one way in which we do just that in a sustainable way.