Industry Voices

Grocery Retailers Help Make Life Better for Children With Cancer

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Susan Molin is the Retail Manager for the Children’s Art Project at MD Anderson Cancer Center.

A supermarket’s influence can extend well beyond its aisles of cereal or displays of fresh produce. That’s why it’s so important for food retailers to get involved in the communities they serve.

One recent example of the impact they have could be found at the annual appreciation luncheon to honor corporate partners and volunteers that support The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Children’s Art Project (CAP). MD Anderson Cancer Center is the No. 1-ranked cancer institution in the country by U.S. News & World Report.

The two-day event was held on March 25th and 26th at the Junior League in Houston, Texas. The grocery retailers that support CAP give their customers the opportunity to purchase distinctive products that support the emotional, educational and recreational needs of children with cancer at no profit to the stores.

Among more than 400 people on hand at the luncheon were supermarket chains that participate in this retail program, including: Albertsons, Brookshire Brothers, H-E-B Grocery Co./Central Market, Fiesta Mart, Gerland’s, Kroger, Market Basket, Publix, Randalls, Tom Thumb, United Supermarkets and Winn-Dixie.

Overall, approximately 2,000 retail stores have CAP seasonal displays and sell these products in their stores each year. Many chains also provide promotional opportunities such as in-store advertising, events, etc., at no charge to help increase awareness and sales.

Each product features original artwork created by the young cancer patients at MD Anderson in weekly art classes funded by the program. All the proceeds from the sale of these products directly fund patient programs at MD Anderson for the children and their families.

Ronald DePinho, M.D., president of MD Anderson, was the featured speaker. He presented his vision for the hospital and expressed his gratitude for the support of everyone that volunteers their time, energy and resources. CAP is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and has funded more than $30 million for patient programs including Pediatric Education and Arts, the Child Life Program, scholarships, summer camps, the Arts in Medicine Program and the Adolescent and Young Adult Program to name a few.

CAP depends on these retail partnerships to make this program a success. Retail sales account for half of the annual revenue generated. The generosity and commitment of the grocery retailers that participate in this important program substantially further the mission to help make life better for children with cancer.

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Sean McBride

Sean McBride, founder of DSM Strategic Communications, LLC, is former EVP of communications and member services at the Grocery Manufacturers Association.
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