Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements for those of African descent and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. Also known as African American History Month, every U.S. President since 1976 has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. (source: CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion)
To celebrate Black History Month, we asked our employees to share their stories around food, family, and traditions.
Perishable Team Leader Trainee, 8 years of incredible service
Tiana joined the Wegmans team in 2015 and shares her love of food with customers every day. Here, she talks about the important role food plays within her family and the black community.
“Food is a universal love language within the black community; it is what brings us together and what keeps us together. The love that runs so deep within our community comes from the desire to nourish one another, share, and maintain traditions throughout generations, as well as simply spend time with our loved ones. One dish that lives near and dear to my heart and plays a big role in my family’s traditions is my grandma’s famous mac and cheese. There’s not one holiday, cookout, get together or party that goes by without the presence of my granny’s mac; holidays just won’t be the same without it.”
Store Manager in Training, 20 years of incredible service
Robert has held various positions throughout his 20-year career at Wegmans. As he prepares to become a Store Manager, he shares a bit about his culture and some fond memories involving food and family.
“I remember my parents would start the prep-work days before any celebration. They would take turns in the kitchen once they decided on the menu. It means a lot being able to find some of my childhood staples on Wegmans’ shelves. Whether that is Jamaican beef patties or jerk marinade. I tell this story often… when I was living in Pennsylvania, my family came to visit so I was responsible for cooking. I made rice and peas, macaroni and cheese, and a cucumber, tomato, and onion salad. Instead of buying a jerk marinade several days before, I picked up several packs of the Wegmans Jerk Thighs. I still remember how pleasantly surprised my dad was at the taste and flavor of this Wegmans item. To quote him, ‘Wegmans didn’t miss with this one.’”
Bakery Department Manager, 19 years of incredible service
For Tyeshia, family time is most important, and food plays a big part in bringing her family together. Here, she shares the traditions they incorporate into the holidays.
“First thing that came to mind is my grandma’s sweet potato pie. As tradition, she would bake several pies on the Sunday after Thanksgiving to freeze and gift to others. Having that family time and smelling the aroma of the pies was something I looked forward to every year. Now that she has passed, I am grateful for the memories and the knowledge she instilled in me. We still keep the tradition going in her honor.”
When her daughter was diagnosed with several food allergies as an infant, Denise grew frustrated at the lack of options for high-quality snacks that are both delicious and safe to eat. Determined to make her own, she left her corporate job and founded Partake, making gluten-free, vegan products that are free from the top 9 allergens.
As brewmaster of The Brooklyn Brewery, author of The Brewmaster’s Table, and Editor-in-Chief of The Oxford Companion to Beer (Oxford University Press), Garrett Oliver has been bridging the worlds of beer and food for more than two decades. In 2014, Garrett was the recipient of the James Beard Foundation Award for “Outstanding Beer, Wine, or Spirit Professional.” One of the founding board members of Slow Food USA, he later served for five years on the Board of Counselors of Slow Food International. Garrett has hosted more than 1,000 beer dinners in 17 countries and champions beer as the most versatile beverage for culinary pairings.
Shea Radiance began in owners Funlayo and Shola Alabi’s kitchen while making products to solve their family’s dry skin problems. They rediscovered shea butter—a natural balm used for centuries by African women for beauty, healing, and food—and now source this key ingredient directly from women-run cooperatives in Nigeria, Ghana, and the Republic of Benin. Shea butter is an important source of supplemental income to women farmers in these regions.
Ted and Paige purchased Vibrant Health in 2007 as a testament to their shared passion for helping people achieve health and wellness. They were already familiar with the company’s groundbreaking superfood formula, Green Vibrance, which Ted saw incredible results from for a health issue that hadn’t been helped by anything else. Since then, Vibrant Health has been featured on the Black Enterprise List of the nation’s 100 largest black-owned businesses and has also made the Forbes list of black-owned businesses to support.