West Coast grocery chain Haggen this week is donating more than 45,000 pounds of apples to Northwest Harvest and the Oregon Food Bank to help feed the hungry in local communities in Oregon and Washington. This donation is part of the Take a Bite Out of Hunger program sponsored by FirstFruits Marketing of Washington and supported by Haggen and Charlie’s Produce, Haggen’s primary produce supplier.
FirstFruits Marketing of Washington created the Take a Bite out of Hunger campaign to help feed underserved people while bringing attention to the problem of food insecurity in the U.S. and Canada. This is the first year it has partnered with Haggen to make donations to local charities.
“Take a Bite Out of Hunger is a great way to provide fresh produce to our local food banks, something that is often lacking on their shelves,” said Clement Stevens, SVP of merchandising and marketing at Bellingham, Washington-based Haggen. “This program nourishes people in need by donating fresh and healthy apples in the communities where we work and live.”
Haggen today is donating 15 pallets (29,400 pounds) of apples to Northwest Harvest; the company on Wednesday will donate eight pallets (15,680 pounds) of apples to the Oregon Food Bank.
“We love working with wholesalers and retailers like Haggen who are committed to serving the communities where they do business,” said Tim Corkill of FirstFruits Marketing of Washington. “Together, we’re not only making a donation but we’re also raising awareness of food insecurity in the U.S. and Canada.”
Since the program’s introduction in 2010, approximately one million pounds of fresh apples have been donated to local food banks in the name of the participating retailers. This year more than 10 retailers have joined the Take a Bite Out of Hunger effort with donations going to local food banks throughout the U.S. and Canada.
This spring Haggen is supporting the communities where it operates. The company currently is converting 146 Albertsons and Safeway stores into Haggen stores. With each store conversion, Haggen is donating $1,000 to a single organization on the first day each store opens. To date, the company has donated to the following organizations: Sky Valley Food Bank, Healthy Families of Clallam County, Serve Wenatchee, Boys and Girls Club of King County, Blue Mountain Action Council, Cocoon House, Maltby Food Bank, Boys and Girls Club Oak Harbor, Central Kitsap Food Bank, South Kitsap Helpline Food Bank, Renton Salvation Army Food Bank, White Center Food Bank, HopeLink, PCF/Food backpacks for kids, Communities in Schools of Puyallup, Thurston County Food Bank, Families Unlimited Network, U.S. Army Medical Fisher House JBLM, Fish Food Banks, Lake Oswego School District Foundation and West Linn Food Pantry.
In the weeks following the conversions, Haggen says it will partner with four local nonprofits and donate 2 percent of sales to four additional organizations on four consecutive Saturdays.
“We have a long history of giving back to the communities we serve,” said Haggen Pacific Northwest CEO John Clougher. “We want to demonstrate that commitment both in our new stores as well as our existing stores.”