Sweetbay strives to make our communities rewarding and refreshing places to live by supporting many hunger related programs and initiatives that directly benefit the communities in our operating areas. Annually Sweetbay donates nearly than 8 million pounds of groceries to hunger-relief programs and contributes, through in-kind and financial support, to local, non-profit organizations who who devote their time, energy and resources to the fight to end hunger.
Below are just a few of the activities and organizations in which we are involved.
Sweetbay Supermarket Donates 28 Tons of Fresh Apples
According to research by Feeding America, more than 20% of Florida children experience food insecurity. Nationwide, one in four children live in a food-insecure household. As part of Sweetbay's continuing effort to fight hunger in the communities it serves, Sweetbay Supermarket donated 28 tons of fresh apples to local organizations serving the Tampa Bay area and Southwest Florida. Sweetbay targeted after-school and non-profit day care programs to reach the largest number of children, who along with their families have the greatest need.
"Sweetbay is constantly working with area food banks to ensure that fresh fruit is available to the people who need it," explained Sweetbay spokesperson, Nicole LeBeau.
"We know how important it is for children and people with chronic health issues, like diabetes, to have fresh fruit in their diets," added Joyce Jacobs, associate director of the Harry Chapin Food Bank in Southwest Florida. "We're grateful for this donation because it will go a long way in helping the people we serve."
In all, Sweetbay donated approximately 28 tons of fresh apples to hunger-fighting agencies in Southwest Florida, Hillsborough County, Pinellas County and Manatee County. Each organization received 7 tons of apples.
Feeding America Tampa Bay
Now in our fourth year partnering with Feeding America, Sweetbay has provided more than 7 million pounds of food and supported Feeding America Tampa Bay's Kid's Café and mobile food pantry initiatives. They currently serve 10 counties and partner with over 600 organizations to help end hunger.
In a new systemic effort called Tampa Bay Network to End Hunger, Feeding America Tampa Bay and their partners are focused on addressing hunger across our region. Their top goal is to address the food gaps ensuring that all who are struggling with hunger and nutrition are served and experience improved health.
To support Feeding America, visit www.feedingamericatampabay.org, or to support the Tampa Bay Network to End Hunger, register at www.bigtent.com/groups/tbneh.
Neighborly Care Network's Meals on Wheels
Neighborly Care Network's Meals on Wheels program currently serves over 1,000 meals per day to Pinellas County elders, and keeps a continuous waiting list of over 500. At risk of losing $450,000 in the annual federal meals match, Sweetbay stepped up as a corporate hero by donating the required $50,000 in order for this group to receive the federal dollars needed to sustain the program.
"Our senior citizens have led the way for Tampa Bay to become a great community. It is now our turn to ensure they receive healthy meals and a critical visit each weekday. Especially when our economy is struggling, we cannot afford to lose Meals on Wheels," emphasized Nicole Lebeau, Sweetbay Supermarket spokesperson, on the importance of this donation at the partnership kick-off November 2011. "We hope other individuals, community clubs and corporations will step up to provide funds and volunteers to ensure the federal funds are secured every year for Meals on Wheels."
This fifty-year-old institution serves over 5,000 elders each year and provides over a dozen critical advocacy, nurturing and care through meals, daycare, homebound assistance, transportation, a low-cost pharmacy and health referrals.
Right now, volunteers are needed to deliver Meals On Wheels lunches! With Sweetbay, consider caring for our elders by volunteering or donating to Neighborly Care Network. For more information, please visit www.neighborly.org or register at your local Meals on Wheels facility.
Children's Cancer Center
To kick-off Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Sweetbay Supermarket donated $50,000 and teamed up with the Children's Cancer Center to host the inaugural Let's Fly a Kite event at a local Tampa park. Sweetbay provided free kites to the first 500 attendees and the community was encouraged to fly their kites on the lawn. In addition, Fit Kids Playground, a weekly park event centered around children's health and wellness, brought bins of hula hoops, soccer balls, footballs, jump ropes and other playground equipment for the children to play with. Tampa Mayor, Bob Buckhorn, made a special appearance to fly kites with Mike Vail, Sweetbay Supermarket president and COO, and the community. To support the Children's Cancer Center, visit www.childrenscancercenter.org.
Sweetbay Recognized for Food Donations
Feeding America Tampa Bay and the Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida have recognized Sweetbay Supermarket for its efforts to end hunger in the communities it serves. During the first quarter of 2012, the grocer donated more food to Feeding America Tampa Bay than any other food retailer. In recognition, Feeding America Tampa Bay has honored Sweetbay Supermarket as its Food Retailer of the Quarter.
Sweetbay was the first retail food store to begin coordinated donations of non-perishable and perishable food to Feeding America Tampa Bay back in 2008. With Sweetbay at the forefront, other area grocers and discount stores have followed suit. Today, 65% of all food donated to Feeding America Tampa Bay comes from grocery store chains. In fact, according to Pat Rogers, executive director of Feeding America Tampa Bay, total grocery store donations have increased from 3.8 million pounds in 2008 to 16 million pounds last year.
"Sweetbay department managers and staff members make an enormous coordinated effort to ensure every possible donation is given to us, and we are so grateful for their efforts," said Debbi McCarthy, director of development for Feeding America Tampa Bay.
In Southwest Florida, the Harry Chapin Food Bank honored Sweetbay with the agency's "Feeding Hunger, Feeding Hope" Food Donor Award for the month of May. Since January 1, 2012, Sweetbay has donated 154,000 lbs of meat, deli and fresh produce to the food bank, including 14,000 lbs of fresh apples.
"Sweetbay has shown an incredible commitment to helping us end hunger in Southwest Florida," explains Chris Robinson, food resourcing manager at Harry Chapin. "Our long-standing relationship with Sweetbay has enabled us to provide food assistance for thousands of families and individuals in need."
"Supporting hunger-relief agencies is a natural alliance for us, and we assist food banks in every community we serve," added Nicole LeBeau, Sweetbay spokesperson. "At Sweetbay, being a part of the solution when it comes to making sure our neighbors have nutritious food to eat is a responsibility we take seriously."
Holiday Food Drive
Annually, Sweetbay Supermarket hosts a holiday food drive November through December where customers purchase a box of food for $10 to leave at the store for us to donate to a local food pantry or to personally donate to their favorite non-profit group, or an area family in need.
In 2011, customers purchased a record number of food boxes. Twenty five thousand boxes, filled with non-perishable food items, were purchased and donated to area food pantries.
The Box Out Hunger campaign, in partnership with FOX 13 and Feeding America Tampa Bay in the Tampa Bay area and the Harry Chapin Food Bank in Southwest Florida, started on November 1 and was scheduled to end on December 31. However, response was so great, the pre-packaged boxes sold out in mid-December. Each box contained non-perishable items including canned tuna, green beans, pasta, cereal and peanut butter, among others.
"We are overwhelmed by the generosity of our shoppers," said Nicole LeBeau, Sweetbay Supermarket spokesperson. "We know so many families are struggling. Our customers helped make Box Out Hunger a success."
"We are grateful to Sweetbay and the generous residents of Tampa Bay for donating to Box Out Hunger and helping us achieve our mission: Ending Hunger, Nourishing Hope," said Pat Rogers, CEO of Feeding America Tampa Bay.
Al Brislain, CEO & President of Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida added, "Sweetbay Supermarket's Box Out Hunger campaign has made a real difference in the lives of so many of our neighbors in need. These are difficult times and Sweetbay and their generous customers have once again demonstrated what the holiday season is all about."
Since the inception of Sweetbay in 2004, the company has sponsored a holiday food drive, donating in excess of 7 million pounds of food annually to fight hunger.
Sweetbay Charitable Foundation makes contributions without consideration of race, creed, national origin or gender. Organizations requesting grants should:
The Foundation will not contribute to: