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The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) yesterday announced the six winners of its 2013 Community Outreach Awards, recognizing "the creative, charitable programs established and carried out by food retailers to enhance the lives of those in the communities they serve."

Two winners were selected across three categories: programs addressing food insecurity, youth development and neighborhood health improvement programs, with the winners receiving $1,000 each to invest in their initiatives. The winners include:

• PCC Natural Market, where "shoppers contribute cash donations and reusable bag rebates to fund the purchase of bulk food, which is repackaged at bi-monthly parties at 10 partner food pantries."

• Hy-Vee, which has a "yearly campaign, created in 2002 to reenergize a 25-year-old partnership with Iowa’s largest food pantry, (that) showcases Hy-Vee associates’ creativity and consumers’ generosity."

• Klein’s ShopRite of Maryland, which, through a partnership with the City of Baltimore and nonprofits, hosted a event that "allowed citizens to voluntarily surrender guns and receive a $100 ShopRite gift card."

• First Alternative Co-Op, where "shoppers using reusable bags place their vote between charities and, over the course of the year, 16 charities receive a proportional donation.

• Safeway, where "high-schoolers from local underserved communities participate in workshops and activities structured to help students achieve professional success despite life challenges.

• Big Y Food Stores, which has a youth program that focuses on Y-AIM: "(a)chieve academically, (i)spire to attend college, (m)ove toward personal, family and community advancement."
KC's View:
I've always thought that stores can only be as vibrant as the communities they serve, and to the degree that they make themselves part of those communities. That can obviously be defined a lot of ways - from making sure that people have enough to eat, to helping to make sure education is a top priority among kids, to working to take guns off the street.

Good for them all.