Anyone with strong friendships knows that the closest ones are with people who share our deeply held values, show up in both good and tough times, and provide support and encouragement as we try new things. And in the case of our oldest friends, they are practically part of the family. These are the relationships we all hope to have, and over the past 40+ years, it is the type of relationship that the CAFB has been deeply fortunate to share with Giant Food.
In honor of Giant’s 85th anniversary on February 6, we are reflecting on just some of the ways they have been – and continue to be– the best kind of friend.
They share a deep commitment to our community.
Like the food bank, Giant touches almost every neighborhood in the greater Washington area. And from the time that the food bank opened our doors in 1980, they have been a rock-solid partner in helping those who call our region home get the food they need to thrive. They are our single largest in-kind food donor, providing substantial amounts of critically needed protein and other food items. And their generous financial contributions have likewise helped to get food onto the tables of countless families. This kind of support tells only one part of the story of their commitment to being a good neighbor, but it is an essential one: over the lifetime of our partnership, they have helped provide close to 40 million meals to kids, parents, and other members of our community – an average of a million meals every year.
They provide good advice.
In addition to food and funds, Giant assists the food bank with a wide range of advice and counsel on everything from inventory management to supply chain logistics. This kind of support adds value in many ways, helping us get food out faster and allowing us to continuously improve service for our clients, while also increasing the efficiency of our operations.
They help build us up.
Giant has invested in the food bank’s capacity and infrastructure many times throughout our history. This was especially true during a capital campaign that enabled us to move to our current headquarters in northeast D.C. a few years ago. Through their support of that project, they played an essential role in helping the food bank expand into our current space, which made it possible to double the amount of food we distribute to our neighbors – now at over 50 million meals annually.
They always show up, even – and especially – in tough times.
As a friend for all seasons, Giant has been a partner through many different circumstances – including some of the most challenging times that the food bank has ever faced. When the federal government shut down in 2018, for instance, and thousands of people were suddenly in need of emergency help, Giant immediately stepped in with additional food donations and places to host pop-up distribution sites. And today, as our region contends with a pandemic that has upended life for people worldwide and pushed 200,000 additional people into hunger in our region, Giant has once again shown up to help, just recently providing support that will enable nearly one million meals to go to families throughout our area.
They encourage us to grow and try new things.
Giant has long been the first in line to help the food bank innovate and try new ways of approaching the problem of food insecurity. When we set a goal many years ago to be among the first food banks in the country to reduce junk food in our inventory and improve the wellness criteria for our donated food, Giant was the first retailer to sign on as a partner in achieving those standards. To deepen the impact of that initiative, they worked with the food bank on a recipe card pilot to bring ideas for affordable healthy meals to Giant stores across the region. And today, they are key partners in several of the food bank’s strategic pilots aimed at tackling issues ranging from equitable access to food in neighborhoods with limited grocery options, to addressing health concerns and other barriers to wellbeing by pairing food with other services.
For these reasons and so many more, Giant is the kind of friend we all want to have. We have been incredibly lucky to have them by our side and look forward to creating even more impact together in the years ahead.