Lending a Hand in a New Community: How Wegmans Formed Relationships in North Carolina
Guided by the late Robert Wegman’s words, “Never think of yourself, always help others,” our stores and employees work tirelessly each year to make a lasting difference in the communities we serve. In 2019, we entered a new market as we opened our first location in North Carolina. This year, we will introduce two additional stores in the state: Chapel Hill and Wake Forest. Since coming to North Carolina, we’ve made connections with dozens of local organizations and groups in an effort to improve the lives of our customers and employees in every way we can.
“Before we open the doors to a new store, we begin reaching out to local community leaders to see how we can help,” said Chapel Hill Store Manager Rick Walters. “We believe communities thrive when we all work together, so we make it our mission to be a good neighbor from the start.”
Our top giving priorities include feeding the hungry and encouraging healthy eating. In 2020, our Raleigh and West Cary stores raised nearly $40,000 through our annual Check Out Hunger campaign, a program where customers can add a small donation to their order and the funds are donated to local food banks. Our stores also provide local food pantries and food banks with safe-to-eat and wholesome perishable food through our Perishable Pick Up Program. Last year our Raleigh store donated over 255,000 pounds of food to the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, Upper Room Church, Glory-Tabernacle, and Raleigh Rescue. Our West Cary store has donated more than 63,000 pounds of food through this program since its opening in late July.
In anticipation of its 2021 opening, the Chapel Hill store provided $2,500 to TABLE’s 8th Annual Empty Bowls Fundraiser last year. The fundraiser supports TABLE’s Weekend Meal Backpack Program which provides emergency food aid for children each week. The store also donated an additional $1,500 to the Friends of Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation Department for their Grow to Life program. The initiative is run by volunteers who manage a drive-thru distribution of emergency food and supplies. They also make home deliveries to those in need. In February, the new store donated $2,500 each to Point Care Pantry in Chapel Hill and Kings Park International Church in Durham. Also opening this year, the Wake Forest store will donate a total of $14,000 to the Tri-Area Ministry Food Pantry so they can make food and personal hygiene products available to families in need.
While our business focuses on food, we support a variety of local events and organizations to connect with the local neighborhoods where we work and live. In 2020, many non-profits had to shift their daily operations due to the pandemic. Our donations to the Kidzu and Marbles Children’s Museums helped support museum operations and provided fun, educational content to local kids through virtual events they could enjoy from the safety of their homes. The Chapel Hill store contributed $2,000 to the Center for Child and Family Health so their social workers and nurses could provide contactless drop-off of basic needs packages to low-income families that included diapers, early reading books, and other items. Our North Carolina stores also provided assistance to Chapel Hill-Carrboro Public School Foundation, Wake Technical Community College, the Boys & Girls Club of Wake Forest, Wake Harvest, the Orange County Rape Crisis Center, and many others. These donations alone accounted for more than $18,000 in charitable giving last year.
For decades, Wegmans has connected with the local United Way near each store to provide needed funds to agencies that get measurable results. Since entering the North Carolina market, our stores have donated over $106,000 to the United Way of the Greater Triangle, which partners with dozens of non-profits across the region to eradicate poverty and increase social mobility. Funds for the United Way are raised through employee and company contributions each year.
“The relationships we’ve already built have helped us to become part of the community,” said Wake Forest Store Manager Patrick McGuiness. “We look forward to building on those connections and welcoming our neighbors into the store soon.”
Wegmans Chapel Hill opens at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, February 24th. The Wake Forest location is set to open in late spring. For more information about the new stores, visit our website.