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EXCLUSIVE: Meijer Team Members Go Above Par in Volunteerism

Grocer’s employees give 1,700+ hours of time to make the 2023 Meijer LPGA Classic a success
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
Meijer volunteer
Meijer team members came out in force again this year to staff hundreds of roles at the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give.

Throughout the course at the 2023 Meijer LPGA Classic golf tournament, held June 15-18 at the Blythefield Country Club near Grand Rapids, Mich., spectators came across small signs bearing the words of the grocery chain’s late co-founder and chairman, Fred Meijer: “I want to leave the world in a little better shape than when I entered it.”

At every hole and around the perimeter of the event, visitors also encountered volunteers from the Michigan-based grocery chain working in a variety of roles, from holding up “Quiet, please” signs when golfers were lining up their shots to opening up rope lines for crowds to asking people if they needed a ride on a cart from one spot to another. In all, this year’s Meijer LPGA Classic was supported by 1,321 volunteers, 292 of whom were Meijer team members. The LPGA press office noted that this event is known for attracting a particularly high number of volunteers.

[Read more: “Kellogg, Meijer Field Effort to Save Middle School Sports”]

According to the retailer’s estimates, the nearly 300 company associates gave a total of 1,709 hours of their time throughout the week. “We couldn’t make this tournament happen without our volunteers, and we’re so grateful for the record number that came out to help this year,” Cathy Cooper, executive director of the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give told Progressive Grocer. “The continued uptick in volunteers really reflects the community’s commitment to helping stock the shelves of food pantries across the Midwest, and the growth of the tournament overall.”

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Meijer classic
144 elite golfers from around the world competed in the 2023 Meijer LPGA Classic.

One of those volunteers was Brandi Van Leeuwen, associate general counsel for Meijer. This was her seventh tournament as a volunteer, as she helped staff the player locker room in a player services role. “I didn’t volunteer the first year but then everybody came back and said how much fun it was, so I started the second year,” she said during an interview with Progressive Grocer in between her shift at the clubhouse. “I have a good time, I get to meet people I otherwise wouldn't meet and I also get to see a lot of team members on the golf course.”

Van Leeuwen noted that the spirit of volunteerism extends beyond the LPGA Classic, reflecting Fred Meijer’s company-famous quote. “One of the best things about the culture at Meijer is that not only are we allowed to volunteer during work hours, we’re encouraged to do it. This epitomizes the culture of enriching the lives of the communities we serve,” she explained, citing opportunities like beach cleanups along the Lake Michigan shoreline and food drives that draw many company volunteers and become team building activities, too.

LPGA golfer Leona Maguire of Ireland came in 21-under par to win the 2023 Meijer LPGA Classic. The retailer reported on June 19 that the event raised $1.25 million for the second straight year for the Meijer Simply Give program and attracted a record number of attendees who watched an international field of 144 players compete for the title. 

Privately owned Meijer operates 500-plus supercenters, Meijer Grocery, neighborhood markets and Express locations throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin. The Grand Rapids, Mich.-based company is No. 23 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. PG also named the company as one of its Retailers of the Century and Top 10 Most Sustainable Grocers

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