PCC Community Markets, the largest community-owned food market in the United States, donated some 1.4 million meals to neighborhood food banks and other organizations in 2020 — another reflection of how food retailers sought to help out during the pandemic.
In its latest community service update — a reflection of a larger trend that has merchants increasingly reporting on their charitable and sustainability efforts — the food retailer also said that it contributed almost $710,000 in financial and in-kind support to social and environmental causes, and raised approximately $384,000 to support its local communities.
“Last year it was more critical than ever to show up and support our neighbors,” said Brenna Davis, VP of social and environmental responsibility at Seattle-based PCC. “We stayed true to our mission of nourishing the communities we serve while cultivating vibrant, local, organic food systems. We leveraged our 30-year food bank program to protect local farms, expanded our program that incubates diverse entrepreneurs by introducing a new grant, and even donated a hand sanitizing station to keep a community partner’s food distribution program operational.”
In 2020, PCC donated 1.7 million pounds of food and product to 40 grocery rescue partners. The PCC community also came together, the food retailer said, raising more than $250,000 for the member- and shopper-funded PCC Food Bank Program. PCC also supported turnkey pandemic relief efforts to local nonprofits like Northwest Harvest.
An essential component to the co-op’s work in supporting the emergency food system is its over 30-year-old food bank program, PCC said in touting its recent accomplishments. In response to COVID-19 restrictions last year, the program had to be reinvented, PCC said. The result was a collaboration between PCC, the Neighborhood Farmers Markets and Harvest Against Hunger. The program contracted 16 food bank partners with 14 local family farms — who had lost their markets due to COVID — to purchase product directly. The program pivot to a “Farm to Food Bank” model focused on developing direct relationships between the farms and food banks to build greater resiliency in the local food system.
Last year, PCC also furthered its commitment to farms, farmland and organic producers across Washington. Two key components of this work were the co-op’s ongoing partnership with Washington Farmland Trust (formerly PCC Farmland Trust) and its Organic Producer Grants.
As part of PCC’s five-year commitment of $1 million to the Trust that concluded in 2020, the co-op provided financial support for the organization in its pursuit to protect threatened farmland in the state. PCC also supported organic producers with its second year of Organic Producer Grants. These grants are intended to help fund projects that will make a positive impact on the environment, operational needs and/or the recipients’ workforce. In 2020, grants were awarded to First Cut Farm, Cabrera Farm and Four Elements Farm.
PCC said it also continued its work to foster vibrant and healthy communities through strategic partnerships, robust neighborhood and regional giving programs, and community grants.
Last year, PCC supported dozens of local nonprofits and organizations through in-kind donations and event sponsorships, with the goal to educate, interact with and develop community.