Local, Independent Grocers Raise Money For ‘Feeding America’



         Karen Guste is the front end manager at Langenstein’s, 800 Metairie Rd., in Metairie. She’s seen many fundraising campaigns succeed at her registers and is currently promoting the National Grocers Association’s (NGA) Feeding America initiative throughout the month of June.

         “The girls are asking and we have signs by the registers, but customers are not as generous as they usually are,” Guste said. “It’s a very slow month for us. Summer is slow for us. Kids are out of school, and people are on vacations. People tend to donate more in the winter months.”

         Independent supermarkets in the New Orleans area are asking shoppers to add $1, $3 or $5 donations to their grocery bills this month to 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. The majority of food pantries find donations drop off from the winter and holiday season, and they need to initiate new campaigns during June, July and August.

         “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.”

         “Independent grocers like Langenstein’s do want to help people who are less fortunate who can’t afford to buy food for their families,” Guste said. “We donate to Second Harvest Food Bank every week.”

         The NGA is the national trade association representing the retail and wholesale grocers that comprise the independent, privately owned or controlled food retail companies in the food distribution industry. NGA reps said these independent grocers represent close to 1 percent of the nation’s overall economy and are responsible for generating $131 billion in sales, 944,000 jobs, $30 billion in wages, and $27 billion in taxes.

         The independent supermarket industry in Louisiana creates nearly 16,140 jobs, generates more than $474,435,400 million in wages and provides more than $438,692,000 in local, state and federal taxes, NGA reps said.

         Breaux Mart Supermarket Manager Jennifer Doyle said only 19 customers have participated in the Feeding America program at her 3233 Magazine St. location so far. “I think we would have collected more if this program took place in another month,” she said. “We just had a healthy fund drive for leukemia charities in May that sort of took the wind out of the sails this month for donations.”

         Feeding America reps said they serve one in eight people, or 46.6 million each year. The USDA estimates that one in six children, 17.9 percent, face 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.”

         “It’s important for independent grocers like Breaux Mart to get involved and contribute to fight hunger because it’s our way of saying thank you to our community and neighborhood,” manager Doyle said. “Our customers feel the same way. And this program is anonymous, you don’t have to sign anything, just donate and know your money is going to a local food bank to feed the hungry.”

         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.

         Independent grocers in the New Orleans area participating in the campaign include:

 

• Dryades Public Market, 1307 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., Suite 200, New Orleans, LA  70113

• Breaux Mart Supermarket, 3233 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA  70115

• Langenstein’s – Uptown, 1330 Arabella St., New Orleans, LA  70115

• Robert Fresh Market, 8115 S. Claiborne Ave., New Orleans, LA  70118

• Matassa’s Market, 1001 Dauphine St., New Orleans, LA  70116

• Circle Food Store, 1522 St. Bernard Ave., New Orleans, LA  70116

• Canseco’s – Esplanade Market, 3135 Esplanade Ave., New Orleans, LA  70119

• Lakeview Grocery, 801 Harrison Ave., New Orleans, LA  70124

• Canseco’s – Elysian Fields Market, 5217 Elysian Fields Ave., New Orleans, LA  70122

• Robert Fresh Market, 135 Robert E. Lee Blvd., New Orleans, LA  70124

• Langenstein’s – Metairie, 800 Metairie Rd., Metairie, LA  70005

• Breaux Mart Supermarket, 2904 Severn Ave., Metairie, LA  70002

• Zuppardo’s Supermarket, 5010 Veterans Blvd., Metairie, LA  70006

• Robert Fresh Market, 5016 W. Esplanade, Metairie, LA  70006

• Canseco’s – Arabi Market, 6735 St. Claude Ave., Arabi, LA  70032

• Breaux Mart Supermarket, 315 East Judge Perez Dr., Chalmette, LA  70043

• Balestra’s, 7902 Highway 23, Belle Chasse, LA  70037

• Breaux Mart Supermarket, 605 Lapalco Blvd., Gretna, LA  70056

• Langenstein’s – River Ridge, 122 Sauve Rd., River Ridge, LA  70123

• Breaux Mart Supermarket, 9647 Jefferson Hwy., River Ridge, LA  70123

• Langenstein’s – Metairie, 800 Metairie Rd., Metairie, LA  70005

• Super Stop Supermarket, 201 Fourth St., Westwego, LA  70094

• Piggly Wiggly, 909 Westbank Expy., Westwego, LA  70094

 

         View an interactive map of all participating independent supermarkets here

 

         For more information

 

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Big Easy Biz by Leslie T. Snadowsky

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Leslie T. Snadowsky joins Biz New Orleans as an Associate Multimedia News Editor, business news reporter, video blogcaster and Biz liaison for WWL-WUPL TV. She’s contributed to Bloomberg News, Reuters, The Times-Picayune, The New York Post and The Dallas Morning News, and appeared on CNN’s “Nancy Grace,” and “Jane Velez Mitchell,” and Fox News’ “Fox & Friends.” She earned her BA from Newcomb College at Tulane University and her MS in Journalism from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. As an exhibited and published rock photographer, Leslie enjoys live music and the eclectic culture of New Orleans. 

To reach Leslie T. Snadowsky directly, contact her at Leslie@BizNewOrleans.com.

 

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