ARLINGTON, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The National Grocers Association (NGA), the trade association representing the independent supermarket industry, NGA Research and Education Foundation (NGAREF), and Retailer Owned Food Distributors & Associates (ROFDA) recognized today as the “Independents Day of Giving” to help fight hunger and raise community awareness with more than 1,600 independent grocers across the country participating.
Shoppers have been encouraged to add $1, $3, or $5 donations to their grocery bill throughout the month of June, with a focus on June 21, the first day of summer. Each contribution will help support local food banks that are members of the Feeding America nationwide network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs.
“Contrary to popular belief, the highest demand for food is during the summer after the holiday food drives end and the same people who were hungry on Christmas are still hungry in June,” said Peter J. Larkin, president and CEO, NGA. “Locally-owned independent supermarkets have a long history of giving back to the communities they serve and are eager to work with shoppers to help restock their neighborhood’s food pantry by making a small contribution at the register.”
A comprehensive report on hunger, “Hunger in America 2014,” found that the Feeding America network serves one in eight people – or 46.6 million – each year. The USDA estimates that one in six children – 17.9 percent – faces food insecurity, compared to the nation’s overall food insecurity rate of 13.4 percent.
“With children on break from school, families facing food insecurity are forced to find an additional two meals for their kids each day,” said Elizabeth Crocker, vice president and executive director, NGA Research and Education Foundation. “That means finding an extra $300 for groceries when kids are out of school, which isn’t feasible for many families.”
More than 22 million children in the United States receive free or reduced-price school lunches and just four million – or just 18 percent – receive free meals in the summer when school meals are not as readily available, according to 2016 USDA report on the National School Lunch Program.
“One of the most important missions of any supermarket operator and the wholesalers that serve them is to feed the families and support their communities,” said Francis Cameron, president and CEO, ROFDA. “We’re excited to maximize the impact of the independent supermarket industry and give back to their communities.”
“Children need good nutrition all year long. When school lets out, millions of children no longer have readily available access to a healthy school breakfast or lunch,” said Dave McConnell, president and CEO of Making Change. “We are delighted to join NGA and ROFDA for this vital, life-saving initiative to fill the gap for our children so they can reach for their dreams.”
The donations will be collected by Making Change, a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit, and redistributed back into the local communities of each participating independent supermarket by Feeding America.
For an interactive map of participating independent supermarkets, click HERE.