Goodlettsville, Tennessee-based Dollar General has entered into an operational partnership with Feeding America and has made a $1 million donation to the organization. The funds will be used to provide access to food resources in rural and otherwise underserved communities and to proactively address food insecurity across the country.
The company also plans to offer produce in up to 10,000 communities over the next several years, with a meaningful number of those stores in current United States Department of Agriculture defined food deserts.
“Food insecurity impacts communities across the country and given that Feeding America projects that 42 million people may face hunger as a result of the pandemic, we want to be part of the solution for those facing this issue,” said Todd Vasos, Dollar General’s CEO. “With our extensive store footprint, often in communities others have chosen not to serve, Dollar General is uniquely positioned to help combat hunger by offering convenient access to a variety of nutritious foods at affordable prices. Our work with Feeding America builds on these efforts by providing in-kind donations of perishable foods to help nourish and feed those in need. Together with Feeding America and local community food banks, we look forward to making a measurable impact in the fight against food insecurity.”
Produce and healthier foods goals
With approximately 75 percent of the U.S. population living within five miles of one of its general merchandise stores, millions of Americans rely on Dollar General to provide access to the everyday products they need and want, including the components of a nutritious meal such as milk and dairy products, bread, frozen and canned vegetables, canned fruits, grains and more.
Dollar General also has partnered with a registered nutritionist to create DG Better For You meals, which provide healthier recipes for each meal of the day with items sourced from DG stores, and created the Good & Smart private brand to provide yet another healthier option to customers.
The company currently offers fresh produce in more than 1,300 stores, providing the top 20 items typically sold in grocery stores and approximately 80 percent of produce categories carried by most grocers. Dollar General plans to expand this offering in up to 10,000 stores, including a meaningful number of stores located in food deserts.
Feeding America partnership
Dollar General’s work with Feeding America will be highlighted by a $1 million donation, as well as in-kind donations of perishable and nutritious food to community food banks. At full operational capacity, Dollar General seeks to provide up to 20 million meals each year. (According to the USDA, 1.2 pounds is equivalent to one meal.) This will not only help alleviate hunger in the communities it calls home, but also nearly double the number of stores in which Feeding America services.
The partnership further aims to enhance Feeding America’s rural hunger initiatives and provide more food donations to 95 percent of member food banks across the country. Additionally, it aims to support otherwise underserved communities with valuable food resources through Dollar General’s unique real estate footprint with approximately 75 percent of its stores serving communities of 20,000 or fewer individuals.
“Each year, billions of pounds of food go to waste, while millions of Americans face hunger. Feeding America is grateful to Dollar General for ensuring that good, wholesome unsold food gets to people who need it most. We are also grateful for their generous donation of $1 million, which will help provide meals to children and families in rural communities,” said Claire Babineauz-Fontenot, CEO of Feeding America.
Dollar General and Feeding America initially began testing food donations in summer 2020 in several Indianapolis and Atlanta-area stores, and Dollar General recently expanded its donation footprint to its DG Fresh cold storage facilities. In 2020, Dollar General’s donations provided more than two million meals to those in need.
In addition to weekly collections, the partnership will provide opportunities for Feeding America and local food banks to collect food items during times of crisis. For example, when Hurricane Zeta impacted an Atlanta-area DG store in October 2020, Feeding America and its partners at the Atlanta Community Food Bank quickly collected food items and distributed them within the community.