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01/26/2022

New Seasons Market Updates Hunger Relief Program

Modifications come as grocer focuses community impact work on food access, equity
Bridget Goldschmidt
Managing Editor
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New Seasons Market Gives $150K to Oregon Worker Relief Fund
New Seasons Market's Hunger Partner program now permits the grocer's stores to support 10 nonprofit organizations for a two-year term.

West Coast independent grocer New Seasons Market has made updates to its Hunger Partner program, which gives food-insecure community members access to quality food through partnerships with local nonprofits. Since the grocer began operations in 2000, the Hunger Partner program has enabled customers to donate any amount at checkout year-round to support the hunger relief efforts of a store’s dedicated partner.

On Jan. 1, the program changed for the first time since its founding, moving from one lifetime partner per store to supporting 10 organizations for a two-year term. The program additionally modified its fund distribution model to ensure that contributions are equitably allocated across all partners.

These changes arrive as New Seasons recalibrates its community investment and engagement work to concentrate on food access and racial equity.

“Our partners have firsthand knowledge about the needs of our community, and we value working alongside them to support their various missions and programs,” said Joemil R. Santos, New Seasons’ food equity program supervisor. “Our updated Hunger Partner program was shaped with their input and reflects our efforts to engage more BIPOC-led organizations. By pooling and equally distributing contributions, we can deepen the financial impact for individual partners as we share our customers’ generosity with organizations that are truly doing the work to help our neighbors in need.”

Last year, community partners were able to apply as beneficiaries of the Hunger Partner program. Submissions were evaluated by a committee of New Seasons store associates and store support office team members, with a focus on racial equity to better support underserved communities. The 10 hunger partners chosen to serve from Jan. 1, 2022 to Dec. 31, 2023 were Blanchet House, Centro Cultural, Clackamas Service Center, Equitable Giving Circle, Feed The Mass, Feed’em Freedom Foundation, Growing Gardens, HomePlate Youth Services, Oregon Food Bank and Share.

“New Seasons has supported us for a long time and we count on their donations as a major source of funds when we put together food for families,” noted Maria Caballero Rubio, executive director at Centro Cultural, which has offices in Cornelius and Hillsboro, Ore. “With these donations, we’re able to put those nutritious finishing touches on what we offer our community, like fruits, vegetables, breads and other fresh foods that we don’t normally get from the government, food banks and food pantries.”

Last year, the Hunger Partner program raised more than $106,000 in customer donations for area nonprofits such as food pantries, home garden programs and services providing meals for homebound seniors. Along with these donations, New Seasons hosted two annual fundraising events at the register to benefit hunger relief organizations, Hunger Relief Match and 8 Days of Kindness, held in May and November, respectively. These two fundraisers collected an additional $270,000 in donations to further food access and equity in New Seasons’ communities.

Portland, Ore.-based New Seasons Market employs  nearly 3,500 staffers at 19 stores in Oregon, Washington and Northern California, serving a unique mix of locally sourced and organic items, classic grocery favorites, and chef-made grab and go meal solutions. As the world’s first certified B Corp grocer, the company has committed 10% of its after-tax profits to the communities it serves. New Seasons and its sister banner, Santa Cruz, Calif.-based New Leaf Community Markets, an organic and natural grocer with five stores along California’s Central Coast, are independent operators within the Good Food Holdings family of brands. A subsidiary of Emart (which is part of The Shinsegae Group, a global retailer in Seoul, South Korea), Carson, Calif.-based Good Food Holdings is also the holding company for three other food retailing brands: Bristol Farms, Metropolitan Market and Lazy Acres Natural Market

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