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Vikas Vij headshot

What Albertsons Can Teach Top Companies About Community Outreach

By Vikas Vij

Companies can play a powerful role in the communities where they operate. By building relationships in the neighborhoods they serve and supporting local causes that are important to their customers, large companies can make a key difference in improving overall quality of life in the places they call home.

Albertsons Companies—which owns popular grocery and pharmacy chains like Safeway, Vons, Acme and, of course, Albertsons—is striving to embrace this type of role, as evidenced by its latest Sustainability Update published last week. We take a dive into some of its most exemplary community outreach programs to see what other big businesses can learn.

Investing $1 billion in neighborhoods nationwide

Albertsons says it has invested $1 billion in the neighborhoods where it does business since 2001. Its stores provide an opportunity to create awareness and mobilize funding to address key needs in these neighborhoods through customer contributions, passionate involvement of its employees, and valuable vendor partnerships, the company says.

Some of Albertsons' community outreach highlights in 2017 include:

  • The company says it donated about $250 million in food to various local food banks, pantries and other food programs. It was recognized by Feeding America as a top-tier food donor.

  • The company’s Jewel-Osco stores, which serve the Midwest, donated $1 million to the charity New Chance: Arts & Literature Fund to support enrichment programming in Chicago public schools.

  • Albertsons held more than 3,700 community flu clinics and donated over 6,200 flu vaccines to communities in need.

Fighting childhood hunger

As many as 41 million Americans continue to struggle with hunger, according to Feeding America, and 1 in 6 American children does not have consistent access to sufficient food.

Hunger Is, a joint project between Albertsons' Safeway Foundation, the Entertainment Industry Foundation and Feeding America, is looking to eliminate childhood hunger across America, starting with free breakfasts for children in need. The campaign launched the $30K in 30 Days project last year—which awarded $30,000 to organizations working to address childhood hunger and created a platform for these organizations to promote their work.

Over the past four years, Hunger Is has raised more than $21.3 million and disbursed grants to more than 270 programs addressing childhood hunger. More than 200,000 children across the nation have benefitted from this project.

Leveraging supply chain partners to fight trafficking

As a community partner, Albertsons works to protect its neighborhoods. The company has become a shipping partner of Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT), an organization that mobilizes the trucking industry to fight human trafficking.

As a shipping partner, Albertsons trains its private fleet of drivers with TAT materials, which helps them recognize potential signs of human trafficking and follow through with appropriate action. The company has trained 1,510 drivers to date, and it also encourages its 150 carrier partners to have their drivers receive TAT training.

Mobilizing employee volunteers

Albertsons' employees volunteer to make the communities and neighborhoods where they operate better places to live and work. The volunteer teams can be found engaging in activities such as sorting food at food banks in Los Angeles, celebrating Special Olympics participants in Seattle, and stuffing backpacks for school children in Chicago.

Albertsons employee teams are committed to improving lives and offering assistance where it is needed most, the company says. For instance, its teams in Portland participate in food drives and fundraising for their local food bank, while also donating their time for this cause.

“Our employee promise is to Make Every Day a Better Day,” Jim Donald, president and CEO, wrote in his letter to company stakeholders. “That means being a good community partner and a committed steward of the environment."

Image courtesy of Albertsons 

Vikas Vij headshot

Vikas is an MBA with 25 years of managerial and entrepreneurial experience. He is the author of “The Power of Money” (Scholars, 2003), a book that presents a revolutionary monetary economic theory on poverty alleviation in the developing world. Vikas runs a digital content development company, and personally loves to write on global sustainability issues.

Read more stories by Vikas Vij