Community Spotlight: 2020 Giving
04/05/2021 · Newsroom Highlight
We believe good people working toward a common goal can accomplish anything they set out to do. While 2020 was a challenging year, it also showed us how much we can achieve by working together. While the world shut down and shifted from crisis mode to a “new normal,” our stores continued to operate, adapting quickly to new processes, increased customer demands, and rising community needs.
Together, our company, employees, and customers contributed $60.4 million* to our communities last year through corporate gifts, weekly employee United Way giving, and our annual customer scanning campaigns. Of the $60.4 million, 69% provided more than 38 million meals to people in need, 23% supported local community non-profits and United Way programs, and 8% went to our employee scholarship winners to assist with college tuition.
Last year, on top of serving people already in need, our 47 partner food banks quickly became disaster relief organizations. Here’s a few examples of how those organizations put the funds and food donations to use:
- The Community Crisis Center in Reisterstown, Maryland served as many households weekly as they would normally assist in a month. In January and February 2020, the center served 335 households. From March through late November, they provided 9,963 households (37,525 people) with emergency food and hygiene items at an emergency drive-thru site and made an additional 389 home deliveries.
- The Food Bank of the Southern Tier in Elmira, New York used our donations to serve 174,306 meals to local families and individuals. More than 54 percent of households using their services were first time clients last year.
- Tri-Boro Food Pantry in Park Ridge, New Jersey shifted from feeding 30 households a week in early 2020 to 140 households a week by the spring. Our contributions helped them provide milk, eggs, fresh produce, hygiene products, and household items to families in need.
Our 40 local United Way chapters received more than $8.4 million to share with their community partners to keep non-profit services running. These funds were raised through employee and company donations, and our annual customer scanning campaigns. Some of the programs that benefited from these donations include:
- In partnership with Chautauqua Striders, Salvation Army, and The Boys and Girls Club, the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County assisted families and seniors with food, utility and rent assistance, provided virtual mentoring sessions to students, and delivered supplies ranging from internet hotspots to winter boots and jackets to students’ homes.
- United Way of Central New York purchased 4,000 reusable masks for local emergency services agencies, including Catholic Charities, Rescue Mission, Samaritan Center, and Vera House. In addition, they created the COVID-19 Community Support Fund for local non-profits incurring costs related to pandemic relief including food, technology, and PPE.
- TRU-Impact’s mentoring program received a grant from the United Way of Greater Rochester. The program supports Black, Latinx, refugee and migrant children who experienced challenges due to the virtual learning landscape. The students were provided with mentoring, tutoring, and a daily healthy meal.
Enriching Store Neighborhoods
In 2020, we gave more than $13.9 million to over 9,000 community organizations who found creative ways to continue operating safely or needed continued support to keep operating:
- 2-1-1/Lifeline in the Finger Lakes region, a 24/7 health, human services, and crisis hotline, fielded three times as many calls as normal. Volunteers answered calls from people who needed help knowing where their next meal would come from, where to look for unemployment resources, or just needed to talk to someone about the heightened anxiety and loneliness they were feeling.
- Since 1978, we’ve provided transportation funding for seniors to shop in our stores. More than 1,800 seniors from 75 subsidized housing complexes in the City of Rochester and Monroe County use this service every week. In 2020, we increased funding for the senior busing program by $10,500 so more buses could operate each week, allowing seniors to maintain proper social distancing while in route to and from the store.
- Our annual contributions to agencies like Lifetime Assistance, The Arc of Virginia and Monroe, and Heritage Christian Services help individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities to foster independence, achieve their full potential, and to be included in the community.
- As mental health agencies, such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the Mental Health Association and domestic violence groups like Willow, saw a spike in the call for their services, we increased funding to these organizations so they could continue providing safe, immediate assistance to those in need.
Finally, nearly $5 million was contributed to 4,000 Wegmans employees through our employee scholarship program. Since it began in 1984, we’ve awarded more than $125 million to over 40,000 deserving employees through this program. No limit is placed on the number of scholarships awarded each year and no restrictions are made on a student’s course of study. Recipients may choose any area of study from an accredited college and enter any field they desire upon graduation.
“2020 was an incredibly challenging year, but it was also a year of amazing generosity,” said Community Relations Manager Linda Lovejoy. “We’re grateful we could do our part to support our customers, employees, and community partners during this difficult time.”
*The approximate average wholesale value of one pound of donated product at the national level, which was determined to be $1.74 during calendar year 2020, was based upon a study performed by Feeding America.