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Meijer generates $21K for St. Vincent pantry

Food pantries across the Midwest saw an increased need resulting from the COVID-19 global pandemic, and as a result, Meijer and its customers donated more than $7.6 million in 2020 to help feed hungry families through the retailer’s Simply Give program, a press release from the company explained.

That equates to 76 million meals for food pantries across the Midwest. According to Feeding America, $1 equals 10 meals.

On the local level, the Alpena Meijer generated $21,560 for St. Vincent de Paul of Alpena.

Through the Simply Give program, Meijer matches donations from the community. Not only that, on some special donation days, the company doubles up its match, turning a $10 donation from a community member into $30 for St. Vincent de Paul.

“That just shows you how understanding and giving our community is,” said Cathy McClure, pantry coordinator at St. Vincent de Paul. “It’s been very, very helpful to the community.”

McClure said in 2020, over 112,000 people were served, with families being able to come once per month, so that number may account for the same people multiple times.

“We’re very fortunate that we’re able to do this,” McClure said of the pantry.

Warren Richter is the store director at Meijer of Alpena.

“He and his staff have been amazing to work with,” McClure said.

She said even during the closure during the pandemic, she kept the pantry open by appointment for drive-up service. During that time, she was the only one working the pantry.

“I am the only paid employee on this side,” she said. “The rest is volunteers, mostly retirees. I’ve got over 20, probably 30 volunteers.”

Drive-up service is available from noon to 2:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Please stay in your car. Families are allowed to come once a month.

“The need is there, we know that, and we want to continue to help as much as we can,” McClure said.

Across the Midwest, Meijer’s holiday campaign total brings the program’s overall donation to more than $61 million — or 610 million meals — since its inception in 2008.

“Despite the difficult circumstances many families faced last year, we were proud to join forces with our customers to help those who needed it most,” said Cathy Cooper, Senior Director of Community Partnerships and Giving, in a press release. “We care about the communities we serve and are committed to ensuring our Simply Give program makes a difference for our food pantry partners.”

The holiday campaign alone earned $2.6 million in donations and saw the highest customer participation in the program’s 12-year history.

The Grand Rapids-based retailer began its Simply Give program in 2008 as a way to help local food pantries achieve their mission of feeding hungry families.

For more information on the Simply Give program, visit meijercommunity.com/simply-give.

Meijer operates 256 supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin. A privately-owned and family-operated company since 1934, Meijer pioneered the “one-stop shopping” concept and has added more departments through the years.

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