COLTON, Calif. -- Stater Bros. Markets here appreciates the combination of worldwide scope and local focus that the Food For All program offers, Jack Brown, chairman, president and chief executive officer, told SN.
"Those of us in the supermarket business see more American families than any other U.S. business, so we have the obligation to make sure there is food for all, and this is a terrific way to do it."
According to Brown, Stater Bros. collected about $125,000 last year for Food For All at its 156 stores.
Stater Bros. is a veteran of serving as a collection point for customer donations, having been a signatory member of both FICAH -- the Food Industry Crusade Against Hunger -- and Food For All, a program founded in Southern California a decade or so before FICAH that has subsequently merged with FICAH.
The original Food For All program, which was founded in the San Bernardino-Riverside area, funneled donations exclusively to charities in that area, Brown pointed out, "and since virtually all our stores were in that region, we were able to raise money for local needs, whereas FICAH enabled us to raise funds for those in need across the U.S. and the world, as well as locally.
"One of the positive things that came out of the original Food For All program was that the charities receiving donations always wrote thank you letters to every chain that sponsored the program," Brown said. "Very often you donate money and never hear anything back, but hearing back from the groups that our customers' donations helped was always a nice touch."
Stater duplicates those letters and distributes them to stores in each charity's area "so people know the money raised was put to good use."
To emphasize the importance of the Food For All program, Stater Bros. mentions it in its advertising on a quarterly basis "to give the program a little nudge," Brown said. Donations usually pick up when those ads run.
Food For All Viewpoint: Stater Bros.
In the 16 years since the inception of Food For All and its long-term mission, few retailers apart from Stater Bros. Markets have demonstrated such a commitment to local communities and to the food industry itself. Stater Bros. participated in not one, but two of the point-of-purchase programs that Food For All offers to retailers, both geared toward enhancing their community efforts.
Stater Bros. was the first major chain to join the Year-Round Food For All program in Southern California back in 1985. Since that time, more than $1 million has been raised with the campaign. Then in 1987, when a holiday promotion was made available to retailers nationwide, Stater Bros. once again stepped up to lead the industry with its participation. Sixteen years later, Stater Bros. has continued to support the campaign, having raised over $590,000 in the process. Additionally, for the 2001 program, Stater Bros. was recognized with a food-industry award for its excellence in attaining the highest contribution level in the campaign for the Canister Program in the 1-200 store category.