By Dawn M Chiossi
At this time of the year, everyone is jammed packed with holidays back to back: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukah and everything in between.
As such individuals and families love to celebrate with food: Feeding loved ones, with meals, and with sweets and treats! Setting the table for holiday meals, they will indulge in a prized turkey dinner with all of the trimmings, or their made-once-a year-lasagna, or their cookie or cakes recipes that have been in the family for generations. At this time of the year, food is as much of a staple as parties, decorating, or any other traditions.
But what about those who are struggling with hunger in our society?
Hunger and food insecurity is a huge problem in our society, with approximately 40 million people struggling with hunger in the United States. Breaking it down, that’s 1 in 6 people! And these people are family, friends, co-workers, and people we know.
In this holiday time, people are urged not to forget those who may need assistance feeding themselves and their families.
With the Food for Friends Program sponsored by local Stop and Shop Food Stores, everyone can do their part to help feed the hungry this holiday season.
Between November 30th and December 30th—the most crucial times of the holiday season there is no better time to think of others.
Participating in the Food for Friends program is easy. Since most people are going to be going to the food store anyway, just make a donation at checkout. All money raised will go to support hunger in the community.
All 400 plus Stop and Shop Food stores throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey are participating in this worthwhile program. New Jersey has 60 Stop and Shop Stores alone.
According to Stop and Shops’ External Communications Manager for New York and New Jersey, Stefanie Shuman, The Food for Friends Campaign has been going strong for over two decades although it has gone through many different names.
This year they are extremely excited about Food for Friends with many stores participating.
Shuman asserts, “The Food for Friends is only one of Stop and Shop’s annual giving campaigns that seeks to fight hunger across the communities that we serve. This specific campaign allows stores to make a true local impact as each of the Stop and Shop’s 400 plus stores gets to pick a local food bank or local organization to benefit from the program. “
As she explains, “At checkout customers are asked to make a $1.00, $3.00 or $5.00 donation to help end hunger in their community. If they opt to donate, a thank you card will be put up in the store with their name.”
And every dollar counts: Impressively, just one dollar can equal five meals for others who need them.
The mission of this program is to make a difference in communities on the local level. For example, all proceeds from the Wayne Stop and Shop Location Food For Friends is going to support both the Community Food Bank of New Jersey as well as Eva’s Village, a local nonprofit organization that provides care and support for people struggling with poverty, hunger, homelessness, and addiction.
Additionally the Pompton Plains store will be supporting the Pequannock Township Food Pantry, while Kinnelon locations will be donating proceeds to St. Anthony’s Church, and West Caldwell will be aiding Note Dame Church.
And Shop and Shop officials have high hopes for the program.
Feedback for the program has been extremely positive, Shuman enthuses. “Shoppers enjoy knowing that their donations are benefitting those in their community.”
“One of the best things about this program is its true local impact,” Shuman explains. “With each store choosing a local hunger relief organization, we’re really making a difference in our communities. “
Starting out as a small grocery store in 1914, being a part of their neighborhood, Stop and Shop has been around for more than 100 years. Through hard work and love of community, they have grown into a flourishing chain of 86 supermarkets.
Still thinking of themselves that way, Stop and Shop seeks to be a better neighbor and give back to others whenever they can. The Food for Friends Program is just one example alone.
All together, the Food For Friends Program in conjunction with Stop and Shop’ Bag Hunger Program, Stop and Shop and their customers have donated over $1 million and 366,000 meals to regional food banks to help feed hungry families.
So when grocery shopping, stop and make a donation today: Even just a little can make a difference in feeding a family this holiday.