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Hannaford Donation to Developmental Center Helps Students With Life Skills

Grocery training area offers resource for those with developmental disorders
Emily Crowe, Progressive Grocer
Hannaford Supermarkets
Hannaford's donation includes grocery shelving, a checkout station, a conveyor belt and bagging area.

Hannaford Supermarkets has made a donation to Maine Behavioral Healthcare’s Glickman Lauder Center of Excellence in Autism and Developmental Disorders that will help students gain real-life experience with shopping at the supermarket. 

The donated grocery training area includes grocery shelving and a checkout station, along with a conveyor belt and bagging area. The life-skills room that houses the training area is also home to special chairs that help children practice getting haircuts and going to the doctor or dentist. 

“These are more than just nice activities – if a person is unable to do these things it can result in serious problems, such as feeling overwhelmed in the grocery checkout line, a dentist’s chair, or in a doctor’s office,” said Dr. Matthew Siegel, VP of medical affairs for autism and developmental disorders. “We are thrilled to have this resource to provide practice in these key life experiences.” 

According to MaineHealth, these resources help people with developmental disabilities gain critical skills while benefiting from a supportive, educational environment. 

“Going to the grocery store is being part of the community, so we are proud to partner with the Glickman Lauder Center in helping neurodiverse members of our community develop new skills related to the shopping experience,” said Eric Blom, Hannaford spokesperson. “We are so thankful for the work being done at the Center every day to help people with autism and developmental disorders lead full, rich lives.” 

The grocer also partnered with Portland Adult Education last month to introduce the New Mainer Hannaford Retail Leadership Internship, a program that attracts and recruits foreign-born candidates with professional backgrounds to gain experience working in retail leadership and potentially fill leadership roles at Hannaford stores in southern Maine.

Scarborough-based Hannaford operates 184 stores in five Northeast states, employing nearly 30,000 associates. Parent company Ahold Delhaize USA, a division of Zaandam, Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize, is No. 10 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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