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Raley’s & Bashas’ team up With FirstFruits to Donate Nearly 40,000 lbs. of Apples

Sacramento, Calif. – Now that pandemic-related SNAP benefits have ended, more people are turning to their local food banks to help make ends meet. Thanks to a timely collaboration, families experiencing food insecurity in parts of California and Arizona are receiving greater access to fresh produce this month.

Two grocery divisions that operate as part of The Raley’s Companies – Bashas’, which has grocery stores in Arizona and New Mexico, and Raley’s, which has grocery stores in California and Nevada – were selected by FirstFruits to participate in this year’s Take a Bite Out of Hunger initiative. Raley’s and Bashas’ are two of only three chosen to participate in the give-back collaboration this year.

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Placer County region

Collectively, Raley’s and Bashas’ Family of Stores donated nearly 40,000 pounds of apples this week to local food banks that serve families in need in metro Phoenix and in Northern California across Placer, El Dorado and Nevada counties.

The mission of the annual Take a Bite Out of Hunger collaboration is simple: to feed the underserved while bringing attention to the problem of food insecurity in the United States. The two grocery chains have a long history of participating in the give-back campaign; Bashas’ has participated annually since 2018, and Raley’s has been involved since the program’s inception in 2010.

Raley’s and Bashas’ Family of Stores earned the donations for their communities based on the number of apples they sold in stores in January and February. Thanks to shoppers purchasing 24% more apples during this timeframe in 2023, as compared to last year, this year’s donation will be 24% greater, as well.

“Supporting local food banks is a natural way for us to ensure that families in need in the communities we serve have access to fresh, nutritious foods,” said Chelsea Minor, Executive Director of Community Impact and Public Affairs for The Raley’s Companies. “Teaming up with organizations like FirstFruits allows us to extend our giving even further.”

Food insecurity

In California, an estimated one in 11 residents experience hunger or food insecurity. Among households receiving SNAP benefits, about 49% have children. Put another way, one out of every eight California children lack consistent access to adequate amounts of nutritious food.

“Receiving this incredibly generous donation from FirstFruits and Raley’s makes a profound difference for the neighbors that we reach with food assistance,” said Lisa Heinrich, Director of Development and Communications for Placer Food Bank, which received a 720-case donation of apples on April 4. “With more than 102,000 individuals living with food insecurity, including 22,880 children, receiving additional, life-sustaining nutritious fresh fruits is vital in helping us fight hunger.”
In Arizona, as many as one in nine people struggle with hunger, and the number of hungry children is higher yet. About one in six Arizona children – nearly 270,000 youth – experience hunger or do not have regular access to safe, affordable, and nutritious foods.

“Fruits and vegetables are important and irreplaceable items for food banks to provide nutritious menus for so many families in need,” said CEO Tom Kertis, President of St. Mary’s Food Bank, which received a 13-pallet donation of apples on April 4. “This donation from our friends at FirstFruits and Bashas’ is much needed and appreciated, especially now when inflation has hit so many families hard. We thank them for their generosity.”

Take a Bite Out of Hunger

Since Take a Bite Out of Hunger’s inception in 2010, more than 2.8 million pounds of fresh apples have been donated in participating retailers’ names to local food banks in their communities.
“Everyone should have access to fresh, nutritious produce as a part of a well-balanced diet, especially in this inflationary period, when growers, retailers, and everyday consumers are facing challenges,” said Aimee Peters, Business Development Manager of FirstFruits. “Thanks to continued partnerships with community-minded grocery stores, we’re making apples accessible to those who need them the most.”

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