Tackling Hunger One Meal at a Time: How Food Lion and General Mills are Fighting Food Insecurity

Apr 5, 2018
Food Lion Associates rebuild and restock feeding agencies across their 10-state footprint.
Food Lion Associates rebuild and restock feeding agencies across their 10-state footprint.

In the United States, more than 41 million people, including nearly 13 million children, struggle with hunger. That means 1 in 6 children are food insecure. According to Feeding America, hunger — an often unseen issue — affects individuals of all ages, demographics, and backgrounds, and is often tied with other issues of poverty and economic insecurity.

Two members of the Points of Light Corporate Service Council, Food Lion and General Mills, are going above and beyond to address hunger and food security in the communities where they do business. With ambitious goals to improve situations of hunger in the United States and around the world, both companies are working to strengthen food security through employee talents, industry leadership and corporate resources.

Food Lion

As a leading grocery store chain in the United States, Food Lion is certainly familiar with the ordering, processing and selling of food. However, in 2014 the company realized that in the area of hunger and food security, it could be doing more. Food Lion Feeds was born — a philanthropic platform powered by Food Lion and operated in partnership with 30 Feeding America food banks across 10 states. Through this initiative, Food Lion works to feed those who are hungry by leveraging its unique position to provide food, product donations, equipment and volunteers to food banks and nonprofits, supporting mobile food pantries to increase access to meal services, and increasing awareness about an issue that often lives closer to home than most are aware. To celebrate its 60th anniversary, Food Lion hosted The Great Pantry Makeover™ and rebuilt and restocked 60 individual food pantries. The volunteer-fueled initiative resulted in more than 2.5 million meals donated and 2,000 volunteer hours for Food Lion associates.

Food Lion is also using its presence in communities and online to raise awareness about hunger and food insecurity. Food Lion encourages its wide range of stakeholders – employees, customers, community members, and more – to take action by volunteering, giving spare change, or donating the extra canned goods in one’s pantry to collaboratively solve this widespread issue.

Thanks to the support of this network, and the company’s strong commitment to the cause, Food Lion has donated more than 370 million meals since 2014 and is its way to donating 500 million meals by 2020.

General Mills

If you’ve ever snacked on Chex Mix or treated yourself to Häagen-Dazs, you’re familiar with the General Mills family of brands. What many are not familiar with is General Mills’ dedication to building strong, resilient and sustainable communities in the countries where they do business. As experts in food production and processing, the company has taken advantage of these unique strengths to spearhead initiatives around the world aimed at strengthening food security. Since 2010, General Mills has enabled the donation of more than 200 million meals to people in need.

The Feeding America network of food banks serves more than 46 million people each year. (Image Courtesy of Feeding America)
The Feeding America network of food banks serves more than 46 million people each year. (Image Courtesy of Feeding America)

Working with Feeding America, General Mills has also focused on another important food-related issue: waste. MealConnect™, an online platform enabled through this partnership, allows food providers to catalogue their excess food, which is then donated to food banks and local nonprofits, and in turn distributed to people in need. Thanks to the company’s support, MealConnect has saved more than 575 million meals from going to the landfill.

General Mills is also dedicated to ensuring all students are on the path to success. Because youth are often affected by issues of food insecurity to an even higher degree, the company works to increase access to nutritious meals for students around the world. Working with the World Food Programme in India, General Mills is both increasing access to school lunch and making these meals more nutritious. And in partnership with the Food Research and Action Center, it has helped increase breakfast access for students who qualify for free and reduced lunch – a habit that has been shown to improve academic performance.

Food Lion and General Mills are just two examples of corporations that share a commitment to ending hunger in our world and ensuring communities have the resources they need to be healthier and more resilient. Does your company exemplify corporate citizenship, have an incredible team of employee volunteers or make a strong impact in the community? Consider joining the Corporate Service Council today.

Amanda Knowles