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FMI honors best of best for outreach

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ARLINGTON, Va. — The Food Marketing Institute is out with its Community Outreach Awards, recognizing grocers’ often overlooked contributions to the communities they serve.

Here are the “best of the best” in the four categories FMI is honoring this year:

• Neighborhood Health ­Improvement — Publix Super Markets Inc. in May partnered with Mind Body Social LLC and other wellness providers and influencer moms across South Florida for the second annual “Mother’s May Wellness Series,” a monthlong sequence to celebrate and empower mothers. Among the dozens of events across the region were wellness activities involving prenatal yoga, meditation, workouts, Pilates and nutritional workshops. Participants gained access to tools to help them live healthier lives and achieve a better balance between work and family.

• Youth Development — Shoppers at Smart & Final’s neighborhood warehouse grocery stores in Southern California, Arizona and Nevada were invited to participate in the eighth annual PastaThon, an event to raise funds and provide food for needy children. Smart & Final was aided in the effort by Caterina’s Club, a nonprofit provider of warm meals, affordable housing assistance and hospitality job training for homeless youth and low-income families. Smart & Final shoppers donated more than $57,000 through a combination of $10 donations at checkout and at change cannisters in the stores. Another $5,000 came from the Smart & Final Charitable Foundation. The company in turn provided pasta, pasta sauce, forks, bowls and napkins to Caterina’s Club.

• Addressing Food Insecurity — Hy-Vee Inc. relied on generous customer donations, as well as its corporate participation, to raise $207,733 to benefit the American Red Cross of Nebraska and southwest Iowa following flooding in early March that devastated communities in both states. During the monthlong campaign, customer donations at 28 stores in Nebraska and Council Bluffs, Iowa, totaled $157,733. The funds were ultimately allocated to cleanup efforts and humanitarian relief following heavy rains that overwhelmed levees along the Missouri and Platte rivers.

• People’s Pick — Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia earlier this year launched the first pediatric, hospital-based food pharmacy to promote healthy nutrition and address food insecurity. With the help of funding from GIANT Food Stores, the hospital opened the Healthy Weight Food Pharmacy, a food bank and education center in West Philadelphia. Families found to be experiencing food insecurity are referred to the pharmacy, where they receive a three-day supply of healthy food and are connected to additional resources to address their needs.

“Each of us has had our world shaken a bit by the recent rash of heartbreaking stories and news accounts of unimaginable situations across our nation,” commented David Fikes, vice president of communications, community and consumer affairs at FMI. “These disturbing scenarios contribute to a heightened sense of just how fragile our world is and how quickly our life circumstances can change.

“To cope with these disturbances, we could all use a little goodwill to help restore a sense of order and balance — and bolster our sagging confidence. We hope that the good news of FMI’s Community Outreach Awards shines a little light into the darkness, illuminating that there is good in our world by highlighting some acts of benevolence and concern.”


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