As one of North America’s largest grocery store chains, it is no surprise that Safeway is a leading contributor to hunger relief in the communities it serves.
For 36 years, Safeway has been working with Bay Area food banks to provide food for those in need. In 1976, the franchise provided a letter to stores endorsing and encouraging food donations to local food banks and their partners, and backed up that letter by providing a storage trailer and the first donated food to the fledgling food bank in Contra Costa County.
That first year, with Safeway’s help, Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano Counties distributed 36,000 lbs of food.
Since then their partnership has grown to include the familiar Food Bank food drive barrels, which collected over 136,000 lbs in food donations from Safeway stores in Contra Costa County alone in 2011. There is even a little friendly competition among stores to see who can collect the most food and fill the most barrels. From the corporate level to the individual stores, Safeway saw that food banks depend on the community to ensure that they are able to meet the needs of people facing hunger throughout the Bay Area, where the need for food assistance has increased by 45% since 2008.
“Safeway has not only been a long-time sponsor of food drives and donates the trailers needed to store food drive donations, but has also supported us on an operational level by serving on our Board of Directors,” explains Larry Sly, Executive Director of the Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano Counties.
Recently the President of Safeway’s Northern California Operations Division spent the day at one of the Food Bank’s distribution sites sorting and distributing bags of food as part of a community service team from the University of San Francisco. This is what Safeway employee Adrienne Sommer-Locey had to say about the day: “Once the bags were created, we shifted gears and got ready to meet the people who would be receiving them.
“Some of us took the role of greeting people and distributing bags, others took a role of maintaining the bags and keeping the supply chain rolling,” she said. ” I was part of the latter group, but I got an opportunity to meet and talk to the recipients as well. It felt good not just to do for others, but to be a part of a team working for a positive goal.”
Safeway’s commitment to hunger relief is a team effort that starts with the company’s leadership, continues with the employees, and multiplies with support from its customers. “I really appreciate all that Safeway has done to give people the ability to help their neighbors in need,” says Sly. “The Bay Area is a caring community and food banks are helping hundreds of thousands of people every month. Thanks to Safeway and other community partners, we are making a difference.”