Covid-19 cases continue to increase across the country, with some states such as Louisiana seeing drastic spikes in positive tests over recent days. In the Southeast, grocers, organizations and suppliers are doing what they can to make a difference in local communities during this national public health crisis.
Georgia SNAP recipients to receive emergency funding
The Georgia Food Industry Association (GFIA) has reported that the state has requested and received federal emergency CR (Corona Relief) SNAP funding for March and April.
Georgia SNAP recipients will receive $60 million dollars in CR SNAP benefits for the month of March, which is far more than the $7 million originally expected, GFIA says.
March funding will be divided into four distributions on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, March 28-31.
For April, the recipients will receive another $60 million in CR SNAP, distributed with their regular benefits.
SEG strengthens safety measures to protect communities from Covid-19
Jacksonville, Florida-based Southeastern Grocers Inc. (SEG), parent company and home of Bi-Lo, Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie grocery stores, has proactively implemented additional safety measures by beginning the installation of protective Plexiglas partitions in all stores. The grocer also will enforce additional social distancing protocols and adhere to stricter store occupancy regulations to further safeguard customers and associates from the spread of Covid-19 in the communities it serves.
The Plexiglas partitions will be installed between customers and associates at store registers, customer service desks, pharmacies and liquor store counters for further protection against the spread of the virus. Installation in all stores is currently underway and will continue through Friday, April 3. Additionally, all stores will initiate a two-cart-length distance between customers at checkout by utilizing floor markers to encourage and maintain social distancing. SEG will continue to offer modified store and pharmacy hours to allow for a deeper, comprehensive cleaning process so customers can continue to shop confidently and safely. SEG also remains committed to fostering and supporting new employment opportunities for those in need throughout the Southeast.
To help facilitate seamless social distancing within stores during this evolving and unprecedented situation, SEG is committed to maintaining close alignment with local municipal directives to keep customers and associates safe and help contain the spread of the virus.
“It is humbling to see the display of teamwork and dedication demonstrated by our store associates as they serve our customers with extraordinary kindness in this time of great need,” said Anthony Hucker, president and CEO of Southeastern Grocers. “It is imperative that we implement additional safety measures to help shield our associates and customers with protective partitions, social distancing and occupancy regulations to protect them and their loved ones during this time of uncertainty. We will continue to do our part to lessen the impact to our communities by providing clean and safe shopping experiences that our customers can always count on.”
As a continued safety precaution, seniors and high-risk customers are invited to shop their local Bi-Lo, Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket or Winn-Dixie grocery store from 8-9 a.m. Monday through Friday. Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana Winn-Dixie stores will be open weekdays from 7-8 a.m. for seniors. The grocer asks all customers to remain respectful of this time given to the elderly and other high-risk community members to allow them the comfort of purchasing necessary products in a safe environment.
The grocer also will open all pharmacy locations at 8 a.m. on weekdays to allow these same customers extra time to fill prescriptions or seek counseling with expert pharmacists. On weekends, pharmacy locations will open at the usual time of operations. All pharmacy locations will remain open and are prepared to provide influenza and pneumonia vaccines to help promote the health and well-being of customers.
Due to the current impact of COVID-19 on the hospitality and restaurant industries, Southeastern Grocers will continue to expeditiously hire additional associates. SEG is offering positions to individuals throughout the Southeast who have been affected by restricted working hours as a result of mandated store and restaurant closures. Individuals who are interested in applying can visit their local Bi-Lo, Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie grocery stores for more information or visit segrocers.com/careers.
All Bi-Lo, Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie grocery stores will continue to close nightly at 8 p.m. Hours in Louisiana Winn-Dixie stores have been modified to 7 a.m.-8 p.m., with pharmacies open from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. This will give associates the time needed to appropriately restock store shelves and ensure stores are able to conduct additional sanitation procedures.
Smithfield Foods pledges $3M-plus in donations, launches ‘Good Food Challenge’
Smithfield, Virginia-based Smithfield Foods Inc. has announced more than $3 million in cash and in-kind donations, including four million servings of protein, to support communities across America during the country’s response to the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. As part of the donations, Smithfield and its family of brands have launched the “Good Food Challenge” to aid Feeding America and its network of food banks.
Smithfield’s “Good Food Challenge” welcomes the public to join the company and its brands in support of Feeding America and its nationwide network of more than 200 food banks that feed more than 46 million people. With a goal of $1 million in additional donations, this campaign will provide up to 10 million meals to aid the efforts of food banks across the country during this time of increased need. Amid school and business closures and the sharply rising unemployment rate, food banks are essential to feeding the millions of people that rely on food assistance programs every day.
“During these challenging times for our country and fellow Americans, Smithfield is taking a multipronged approach to respond to Covid-19. In addition to supporting our more than 40,000 U.S. employees on our farms and in our facilities, thousands of family farmers and other partners in our supply chain, we also have a responsibility to help our communities as we weather this health and economic storm together. No American should go without food, not ever, and certainly not now,” said Keira Lombardo, EVP of corporate affairs and compliance for Smithfield Foods.
Smithfield will continue to work closely with Feeding America and the nationwide network of food banks to identify and address needs in the weeks and months ahead. Through the company’s Helping Hungry Homes initiative, Smithfield has provided more than 150 million servings of protein to food banks, disaster relief efforts and community outreach programs in all 50 states across the country since 2008.
Wild Leap launches new beer, fundraising campaign in support of service industry
Lagrange, Georgia-based Wild Leap has introduced Gratuity Light Beer, a craft beer devoted to supporting service industry workers who have been hit hard by the worldwide Covid-19 crisis. For every purchase of Gratuity, Wild Leap is donating 10 percent of profits to nonprofit organizations who help support the service industry through emergency financial assistance.
“In times of crisis, service industry workers often are left without benefits to fall back on. In the current climate, empty bars, taprooms, hotels and restaurants have left workers without the support from customers that they rely on,” said Anthony Rodriguez, Wild Leap co-founder and CEO. “The purpose of Gratuity Light Beer is to provide support for these hard-working people.”
Gratuity is a crisp, cold-conditioned beer featuring ingredients like simple Pilsen malt, traditional Czech Saaz hops and Wild Leap’s house yeast. The use of traditional hops and simple Pilsen malt combine to give this beer its approachable and drinkable properties, the company says. Gratuity is the first light beer to come out of the Wild Leap brewhouse and is the first beer available in a 12-pack. The brewery aims to provide consumers with a lower ABV craft option.
“Gratuity doubles as a way to support the industry while providing people with more accessible, affordable craft beer,” said Chris Elliott, Wild Leap’s chief brewing officer. “With all that’s happening right now, the release of Gratuity is more important than ever.”
Keeping in line with its history of giving back, Wild Leap has pre-emptively donated $5,000 to nonprofit organization Bottleshare via a GoFundMe campaign (click here) it has set up. With the online campaign, the initial goal is to raise $15,000 in donations. Once the beer is released on April 6, 10 percent of profits from Gratuity will continue to support service industry organizations year-round.
“Wild Leap could not have come to us during a more crucial time,” said Bottleshare Founder Christopher Glenn. “Their passion was incredible. There were no stipulations, no fine print, it was simply, ‘Hey, we’ve heard of your mission and we want to help.’ At a time when being selfish is easy but support is so necessary, Wild Leap is stepping up and making an impact.”
Gratuity Light Beer will debut the week of April 6.
If you are someone working in the craft beverage industry and in need of support, click here to apply for assistance.