postheadericon Lansing Market Bags Benefit Food Pantry

foodbag120Put a bag of food in your cart with your other groceries, pay when you check out, and you have donated to the Lansing Food Pantry.  It's that simple.  You pick a pre-packed bag worth the amount you want to donate, and it's all there for you.  Lansing Market's food pantry campaign was so successful last year that the store is repeating it this season.

"For customers who want to do something, but really don't have the time to donate and shop, this is a great resource for them to do what they want to do," says manager Sandro Mironti.  It allows us to help them.  We had such great success last year because of all the customers that graciously donated by purchasing the bags and having them available for the food pantry."

Produce/Deli Manager Shannon Canino had the idea last year, and was its driving force again this year along with store associate Becca Hewitt.  Food bags are placed in the entryway to the store in four denominations.  The $3, $5, and $10 bags were so popular last year that a $20 size was added at customers' request.  They contain cereal, coffee, soup, cookies, crackers, bread, all non-perishable canned and boxed items.

foodbag_van(Left to right) Howard Peters, Shannon Canino, Rebecca Hewitt

Last Saturday the store held a 'Fill The Van' event to make the food bag campaign more visible to passers-by.  A van was placed in the parking lot with the goal of filling it that day with food, household and personal items, and clothing.  Joe Reagan of Royal Motors donated the use of a small truck for the day.  The event was publicized in the store newsletter, its digital sign, church bulletins, flyers placed in customers' bags.  Saturday was Howard Peters's first day back at work on his college break.

"For his first day back we had him standing out in the freezing cold with a sign that says 'Donate Here'," Mironti says.  "We collected anything that customers wanted to donate.  We had customers who, because of the bad weather, told us, 'If it wasn't for this I wouldn't have left my house.'  We did pretty well."

People donated roughly $500 worth of food for the day.  They bought food bags, or brought food or other items from home.  Some people stopped and gave money that allowed the store to fill in items that weren't already donated.

"It reenergized us to think of how many wonderful people in our community have such great hearts," Mironti says.  "It really showed that day."

foodbag_bagsShannon Canino, Sandro Mironti

It isn't just that one day.  Customers come back time after time, buying a bag each time they shop.  Mironti says the store originally set a goal last year of $500.00, but with customers' enthusiasm for the campaign it grew to $1200.  By the time they finished the store actually raised $1,500 last year.  He says this year's campaign is on track to at least match that.

"It's becoming an event for us," Mironti says.  "We had customers actually asking when we were going to start this, because they feel so strongly about supporting their community.  It was very nice to hear that.  It encouraged us to step it up and do it one betterI'm always amazed.  We see it all the time.  Every time we do something whether it's to benefit children or the community in any way our customers always come through."

The annual food bag campaign is only one of many initiatives the store sponsors for the community during the year.

"The need is year 'round," Mironti adds.  "The need is not just at the holidays."

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