This year marks the 30th year that Foodlink and Wegmans have partnered for the annual Check Out Hunger campaign. The campaign begins Wednesday, October 25th, at 21 Rochester-area stores – and runs in conjunction with Wegmans’ companywide campaign that supports food banks up and down the East Coast.
The fundraiser locally provides critical assistance for Foodlink, the regional food bank and public health organization committed to ending hunger and building healthier communities. The point-of-sale campaign allows Wegmans shoppers to donate a few dollars – or simply round up their grocery bill – while checking out at their local store.
This year’s campaign begins Oct. 25 and runs through Nov. 29.
Back in 1993, a conversation between Foodlink founder Tom Ferraro and Mary Ellen Burris, Wegmans’ Director of Consumer Affairs, helped launch in Rochester what later became a companywide initiative. Wegmans officials have noted that even in challenging times – namely the recession and pandemic years of 2009 and 2020, respectively, shoppers have given in record amounts. Over the course of 30 years, the campaign has raised more than $14.5 million.
“It’s safe to say that Foodlink would not be able to serve the community as effectively as it does without the tremendous support of the Check Out Hunger campaign these past three decades,” said Julia Tedesco, President & CEO. “We are thankful to Wegmans and their staff for coordinating this initiative, and especially grateful to their shoppers, who step up year after year to support our mission.”
“When we look back over our 40+ year history of supporting Foodlink, including an unbelievable 30 years of Check Out Hunger, it’s impressive to see all that our employees and customers have achieved, working together in the fight against hunger,” said Lindsay Reap, Wegmans district manager, Rochester division. “Our customers’ generosity never ceases to amaze us, and we can’t thank our employees enough for their dedication and enthusiasm over the years. Without their commitment to the cause, we would never be able to achieve the incredible results we continue to see each year.”
During the campaign, Wegmans employees raise awareness of the campaign among customers and encourage donations, but their involvement doesn’t stop there. Throughout the campaign, employees also participate in raising money through special events and activities, such as a cornhole tournament and “Hots and Pops” parties at stores.
Donations help fund many of Foodlink’s food-related programs and support its food-banking operations across its 10-county service area. According to the latest data, nearly 120,000 families live in a food-insecure household, meaning they have limited or uncertain access to enough healthy food.