Ahold Delhaize USA, the largest grocery retail group on the East Coast with local brands including Stop & Shop, announced a $10 million relief package to address critical needs in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Serving our brands’ associates and communities is one of our greatest calls to action at Ahold Delhaize USA, and we take to heart our responsibility during this time of need,” said Kevin Holt, chief executive officer of Ahold Delhaize USA. “We’re inspired by the selfless dedication of medical professionals and first responders, the acts of kindness and compassion across the globe, and the commitment from our own team to serve and feed their families, friends and neighbors.”

As part of that $10 million, the company had previously contributed $3 million through local brands, giving local funding and in-kind product donations with efforts such as: 

Stop & Shop — $1 million divided among 13 regional food bank partners in addition to other local food donations. 

Food Lion — $600,000, including $500,000 toward the donation of 5 million meals to community food bank partners to feed students, seniors and other neighbors in need, and a $100,000 donation to Feeding America and other local food donations. 

Giant Food — $550,000 to Feeding America regional food banks, along with donations of food products and customer giveback opportunities to area food banks. 

The GIANT Company — $500,000 to support local hunger relief organizations, including Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, Philabundance, Maryland Food Bank and Meals on Wheels Pennsylvania, and COVID-19 testing and mitigation efforts at five area children’s hospitals: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Penn State Children’s Hospital, Geisinger Janet Weis Children’s Hospital, Children’s National Medical Center and Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.

Hannaford — $250,000 to regional food banks to support efforts in critically impacted areas in five states, and a cash register community donation drive.

The new, additional funding will be earmarked as follows:

• $2 million for associate care funds — Lion’s Pride, Helping Hands and Take Care. These funds are for employees and their families in times of need.

• $3.5 million in new funding to feed and care for communities on the East Coast through local brand efforts with Stop & Shop and Food Lion giving an additional $1 million each and $500,000 each by Giant Food, The GIANT Company and Hannaford.

• $1.5 million to provide pivotal funding to support medical research to create a vaccine and cure for COVID-19. Of this, $500,000 will be donated to each of the leading efforts being conducted at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Johns Hopkins University and Boston Children’s Hospital, a teaching affiliate of Harvard University Medical School.

 “Through our local brand efforts, we play a critical role in the food supply chain and are operating in regions greatly impacted by this crisis,” said Holt. “Our COVID-19 relief package ensures we’re financially committing to critical needs, along with implementing continued social distancing measures and creating new employment opportunities when it is needed most.”

Ahold Delhaize USA companies are providing further economic and financial support in the form of more than 20,000 employment opportunities. In addition, the brands have implemented stronger social distancing efforts including associate and customer education, store signage and plexiglass protective barriers, among other initiatives. Ahold Delhaize USA brands were among the first to offer dedicated shopping hours to seniors and others who are vulnerable, as well as offering enhanced benefits for associates. 

Ahold Delhaize USA, a division of Zaandam, Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize, operates more 2,000 stores on the East Coast under the Food Lion, Giant Food, The GIANT Company, Hannaford and Stop & Shop banners, as well as operating Retail Business Services, a U.S. support services company providing services to the brands, and Peapod Digital Labs, its e-commerce engine.

The original article can be found at Supermarket News.