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Chain Updates Social Distancing; Charities Donate To Pandemic Battle


Here is a look at recent efforts by Northeast grocery chains and charitable foundations to contribute to the ongoing Covid-19 battle.

Giant Food updates in-store social distancing policies

 Landover, Maryland-based Giant Food has put in two new social distancing policies into effect across all of its stores as they continue to provide a service for the community during the coronavirus pandemic. Giant is taking these additional steps:

One-way aisle traffic

Giant is implementing one-way aisle traffic across all stores to support social distancing and improve the flow of customer traffic. Arrow markers on the floor will designate traffic direction throughout the aisles and associates will be available to point customers in the correct directions. Signage will also be available in store to remind customers to observe six feet of distance from others. The new policy began on April 7.

Store capacity limits

Beginning April 9, Giant is also implementing a customer count limit in its stores. Occupancy will be limited to 20 percent of each specific store’s overall capacity taking into consideration shelving and display fixtures. To manage customer occupancy limits, an associate will be stationed at the front entrance tracking shopper flow. Signage will be placed at front entrances communicating the updated occupancy limits.

“We are continuing to learn and adapt to the new ways of working during this challenging time and believe that these additional measures will allow us to further promote safe social distancing practices in our aisles to keep our customers and associates safe,” said Ira Kress, interim president at Giant Food. “We will continue to look for ways to make shopping as safe and easy as possible to keep our doors open as we provide this essential service to our communities.”

In previous weeks, Giant Food has also implemented other policies including designating special shopping hours for senior citizens and immunocompromised individuals, increasing sanitizing and disinfection procedures of “high-touch areas” across all stores, equipping associates with Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) plastic face shields as well as disinfecting wipes, gloves, hand sanitizers and installing plexiglass shields at cash registers, pharmacy counters and customer service desks. Giant Delivers also implemented contactless delivery.

Giant Food operates 163 supermarkets in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia with approximately 20,000 associates.


The Rite Aid Foundation donates $5M for Covid-19 battle

The Rite Aid Foundation, based in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania is providing a $5 million philanthropic package to support the nation’s healthcare providers and first responders; to support children, families and communities impacted by the outbreak; to address geographic pandemic hotspots; and to support Rite Aid’s own associates as they continue to battle the Covid-19 pandemic.

The donation will support organizations providing vital community resources, including emergency grants for first responders and healthcare providers, nurses’ needs on the frontlines, increasing laboratory capacity, assistance for the most vulnerable populations and a national hunger relief effort during this national emergency, and more critical needs.

“In difficult times, The Rite Aid Foundation continues to find inspiration in the everyday heroes – the first responders and healthcare providers, the nonprofit organizations and our own associates – who are protecting the health and wellness of their communities,” said Jessica Kazmaier, president of The Rite Aid Foundation’s board of directors and chief human resources officer, Rite Aid. “It will take an extraordinary and collective response to ensure we recover from this pandemic and thrive well beyond these uncertain days. The Rite Aid Foundation is proud to stand with the courageous men and women who selflessly continue to do their jobs and fight this battle in communities across the country.”

In response to the Covid-19 outbreak, The Rite Aid Foundation will contribute:

  • $1.5 million to organizations and funds supporting healthcare providers and first responders on the front-line of the pandemic, plus their families. The CDC Foundation, the American Nurses Foundation’s Coronavirus Response Fund for Nurses and The First Responders Children’s Foundation COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund will each receive $500,000.
  • $1.5 million to support regional response funds in existing and emerging pandemic hotspots, beginning with $750,000 among the New York Community Trust’s NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund, the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund, the United Way for Southeastern Michigan’s COVID-19 Community Response Fund, the Seattle Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund and the COVID-19 Los Angeles County Response Fund. The Rite Aid Foundation will reserve $750,000 to respond to emerging hotspots or existing hotspots in need of additional support.
  • $1 million to support community needs in key areas across the nation, especially food insecurity, family support and children’s services. Feeding America and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America will each receive $500,000 to support their ongoing efforts to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.
  • $1 million to The Rite Aid Foundation Associate Relief Fund, to support grants for extraordinary financial hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds can be applied to medical, childcare, household or special expenses.

“Now more than ever, Rite Aid associates are living our company values – to be caring neighbors who are passionate about our communities – and it’s critical for The Rite Aid Foundation to support them during their time of need, too,” Kazmaier said. “We sincerely thank them for all that they are doing every day.”


Debra and Leon Black family, Aramark launch ‘NYC Healthcare Heroes’

The Debra and Leon Black Family and Aramark, the world’s largest U.S.-based provider of food, facilities and uniforms, unveiled “NYC Healthcare Heroes,” a city-wide philanthropic program to support the heroic efforts of the more than 100,000 New York City healthcare professionals on the front lines combatting the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program—launched in partnership with the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, Robin Hood, New York City’s largest poverty fighting organization, and the American Red Cross—will provide at least 300,000 and up to 500,000 packages of shelf-stable food, household cleaning and personal care products, as well as over-the-counter medicine to staff at hospitals across the five boroughs through June, alleviating the burden of having to shop for themselves and their families.

To launch this program, the Black Family has committed $20 million, including an initial $10 million donation and plans to match any additional donations up to $10 million, bringing the total possible raise to at least $30 million. The initial donation will be made to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, and Robin Hood will manage receipt of matching 501(c)(3) donations. Apollo Global Management and its senior partners, as well as Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, have already pledged significant donations to the matching program. Donations of all sizes are encouraged—with the Black Family’s matching commitment, a $30 donation will provide a package to a valued healthcare professional.

Aramark is donating labor to provide procurement, assembly and delivery services. The products to be distributed were selected based on the research and expertise of Aramark, which serves thousands of healthcare facilities across the globe. Red Cross volunteers will coordinate with Aramark to distribute the packages to hospital staff. With Robin Hood’s participation, hospital sites will be prioritized based on greatest need in coordination with the New York City Emergency Management Department (OEM) and the Greater New York Hospital Association.

Debra and Leon Black said, “The selfless medical professionals and hospital staff combatting this public health crisis, especially those working tirelessly at the epicenter of the outbreak in New York City, need our support now more than ever. As lifelong and proud New Yorkers, we are honored to do our part to recognize, help and thank our healthcare heroes and their loved ones.”

John Zillmer, Aramark’s CEO, said, “We are pleased to join the Black Family, Robin Hood, the City and the Red Cross in supporting the healthcare heroes of NYC during this critical time.” Zillmer added, “One of Aramark’s core values is a selfless passion for serving others. Throughout our 84-year history, we have worked to build stronger communities, especially during times of crisis and natural disaster, when there are urgent needs. We are proud to help lead this effort, which would not be possible without the tremendous effort of our dedicated Aramark team.”

The packages will be provided to the more than 100,000 New York City healthcare professionals and volunteers heading home to their families at the end of their shifts, with deliveries staggered to accommodate all staffing schedules. Select items in the first bag include shelf-stable milk, energy drinks, pasta, tuna fish, peanut butter, ramen noodles, soups, macaroni and cheese, nutrition bars, disinfectant, hand lotion, toilet paper, toothpaste, sanitizers, vitamins and Tylenol. The program is adaptable and will include a mechanism to gather feedback, ensuring it meets the needs of hospital staff on an ongoing basis. The distribution is being planned in accordance with PPE and social distancing standards.

Debra and Leon Black support numerous medical and other institutions in New York City and throughout the United States. Debra Black sits on the Board of Overseers at Weill Cornell Medicine, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Rockefeller University, and she has spearheaded gifts for Melanoma and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (“OCD”) research. Leon Black is co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Apollo Global Management. He also is the chairman of the Museum of Modern Art (“MoMA”) and serves as a trustee of Mount Sinai Hospital, where his family launched The Black Family Stem Cell Institute in 2005.

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