Thanks to the support of Selah, Washington-based Rainier Fruit and hungry pear shoppers, Harris Teeter, Wegmans and Lunds & Byerlys recently made a big difference in their local communities with the donation of more than 20,000 pairs of socks to five charitable organizations.
The donations were the culmination of the seasonal cause marketing program Pears for Pairs that provided in-store marketing, with a portion of the proceeds of all Rainier Fruit pear sales being donated to the Hanes Charity Sock Drive. Each participating retailer was able to select the local charity of their choice and direct their donations where they were needed most.
During the weeks of Jan. 28 and Feb. 4, Rainier Fruit representatives joined retail representatives and local media at the following charity locations making individual donations of 2,500 to 5,000 pairs of socks per location: The Men’s Shelter of Charlotte, North Carolina; The Salvation Army of Winston-Salem, North Carolina; St. Stephens Human Service of Minneapolis, Minnesota; Victims Resource Center of Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania; and Schulykill Women in Crisis of Pottsville, Pennsylvania.
“As a family company, we’re committed to making a difference in the communities we serve, and always appreciate an opportunity to partner with like-minded companies, like Rainier Fruit, to make a bigger impact,” said Linda Lovejoy, Wegmans community relations manager. “The Pears for Pairs program is a great example of how communities thrive when we all work together.”
With the participation of local TV and print media, in addition to the donation of socks, local charities also were able to share more information on their programs and services. These donations came at a critical time as the country was experiencing below normal temperatures, putting additional stress on the resources of charities that support the homeless and at-risk populations. The homeless population in the U.S. continues to grow and at least 3.5 million individuals experience homelessness each year.
Danna Robinson, communications manager at Harris Teeter, said, “The grocery business centers around food—not just feeding people but also feeding neighborhoods, which nourish vibrant communities. Harris Teeter is grateful for generous partners like Rainier Fruit that allow us to make a difference through contributions to local organizations which provide help where help is needed.”
In addition to 20,000 pairs of donated socks, Rainier Fruit helped participating retailers drive double digit increases in year-over-year volume sales.
“As growers, our first priority is to grow and sell high quality fruit,” said Mark Zirkle, CEO of Rainier Fruit. “Our success affords us the opportunity to make a difference in a variety of platforms that include health and wellness, as well as community giving. It’s thanks to the work of our dedicated team members that ideas like Pears for Pairs take on a life of their own. In this case, it allowed us to shine a light on the growing problem of homelessness and at-risk populations and we look forward to growing this program and other cause marketing ideas that support our retail partners and allow them to give back in their local communities.”
Rainier Fruit is a multi-generation, vertically integrated fruit company. For more than 100 years, Rainier Fruit has cultivated a culture of stewardship that extends from its orchards to its communities that has made it an industry leader in the production of apples, pears, cherries and blueberries.