Big Y Foods in Springfield, Massachusetts highlighted its recent “Sack Hunger” holiday program along with year-round efforts to donate food to all of the food banks it supports, reporting a total of more than 5 million meals donated in 2017.
Big Y’s eighth annual Sack Hunger/Care to Share program brought nearly 22,000 bags of food to local recipients. Sack Hunger bags are large reusable grocery bags filled with non-perishable staple foods for local food banks.
Big Y customers purchase a Sack Hunger bag full of groceries for $10 and Big Y distributes that bag of groceries to a local food bank. In turn, the food banks distribute the filled sacks to area soup kitchens, food pantries, senior food programs, day care centers and more throughout their member agencies. In addition, customers had the option of purchasing a “virtual” bag in store or online where proceeds were used by many agencies to purchase turkeys or whatever was most needed.
Since its inception more than 133,000 bags have been donated through this program which typically runs through November and December of each year.
The five food banks within Big Y’s local marketing area represent over 2100 member agencies that benefit from almost daily food donations as well as Sack Hunger. They are The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, The Greater Boston Food Bank, Worcester County Food Bank, Foodshare of Greater Hartford and the Connecticut Food Bank.
Filled Sack Hunger bags included the following non-perishable Big Y Items: rice, corn flakes, creamy peanut butter, tuna, kidney beans, whole kernel corn, green beans, quick oats, elbow macaroni and sweet peas. Sacks were available at all 70 Big Y’s, Fresh Acres Specialty Market and Table & Vine fine wine, spirits, beer and specialty foods stores.
According to Charles D’Amour, Big Y president and COO, “We are proud to partner with our local food banks every day of the week. In addition during the holiday season, our Sack Hunger program makes it easy to provide nutritious, non-perishable staple food to those less fortunate within our community. We are grateful to our customers who help support our friends and neighbors in need. In fact, all of their donated sacks of food have already been distributed to area food banks.”
This year’s program also included an additional partnership with the Hershey Co. that helped to raise an additional $10,000 to these 5 food banks under Hershey’s Feeding America partnership. With Hershey’s help, Big Y’s Sack Hunger program provided close to $300,000 worth of food during the last 2 months of the year.
In addition to Sack Hunger, Big Y donates healthy food to these food banks six days a week throughout the year. In 2017, their donations totaled over five million meals. These five million meals include donations of meat, fresh produce, bakery, non-perishable grocery items, frozen food and dairy products for those in need.
Big Y operates 78 locations throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut including 70 supermarkets, 39 pharmacies, Fresh Acres Market, Table & Vine Fine Wines and Liquors and 6 Big Y Express gas and convenience locations throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts.