During the summer months, Food Lion Feeds realizes some students go hungry because the only nutritious meal they receive is at school. Through the 2016 Reusable Bag Campaign, beginning June 8, Food Lion is partnering with its customers in our local communities to provide 1 million meals to families and children in need across Food Lion's store footprint.
To kick off the campaign, on Saturday, June 4, the Food Lion Feeds team hosted bag signing events to celebrate the winners of the 2016 "Summers Without Hunger" Design-a-Reusable-Bag Contest at each of their home stores in Rock Hill, S.C., Summerville, S.C., Simpsonville, S.C., Sumter, S.C., and Bealeton, Va. The children's winning artwork is featured on both sides of the bags, the sale of which will help work to fight summer hunger throughout our markets!
Each of the children arrived at their events with their families and friends in tow, excited and ready to sign their artwork on the bags to encourage shoppers to help feed their neighbors in need. Local dignitaries including mayors, councilmen and women and more were on hand, as well as a representative from their local food banks who accepted $1,000-$2,000 checks on behalf of the winners and Food Lion Feeds.
Below, we've included summaries from each of the five events. We hope reading about the children's journeys to help fight hunger will help inspire each of you to help do the same.
Want to help? Purchase your very own reusable bag at any of Food Lion's 1,098 stores in our 10-state footprint for only $1. For every bag sold, six meals are donated to families in need through your local food bank!
Grand Prize Winner Avamarie M. – Store 2155 – Rock Hill, S.C.
10-year-old Avamarie M., along with her three sisters, her parents and many more family and friends gathered at the Mt. Gallant Road Food Lion store in Rock Hill, S.C., on Saturday morning as our grand prize winner signed reusable bags displaying her artwork for customers, explaining to each one that with every bag purchased, six meals are provided to neighbors in need.
"I just thought it was important to help hungry kids," Avamarie said when I asked her why she was inspired to submit a drawing into the Food Lion Feeds 2016 reusable bag art contest. "It makes me sad to think there are kids like me and my sisters that are hungry. I'm so excited that my design is in all these Food Lions and I can help show people they can help too!"
Avamarie's artwork isn't the only impact the child is making in her community and beyond. As the grand prize winner, she was able to donate $2,000, or the equivalent of 22,000 meals, to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina on behalf of Food Lion Feeds. Kay Carter, Chief Executive Officer of the Food Bank was on hand to accept the check.
"It's so great to see the children taking part in something like this to give back at such a young age," Carter noted. "Food Lion is our number one donor, and we truly appreciate all they do to bring hunger awareness to the counties we serve."
Carter had Avamarie sign the oversized check and noted that she'd be hanging it on the wall at the food bank.
Also on hand to celebrate Avamarie was Ward 2 City Councilwoman Kathy Pender, Food Lion Director of Operations for the Rock Hill area Joe Ready, and Store 2155 Manager Jeremiah and his team.
Runner-Up Emma B. – Store 1542 – Summerville, S.C.
10-Year-Old, Emma, of Summerville, S.C., was all smiles when she arrived at her signing party with her father, mother, and younger brother. Emma and her parents were greeted by a large crowd from the community including the Mayor and Council Member Duncan.
"You're a great artist but you also have a great heart," noted Mayor Johnson. "You are already an asset to the community."
Emma's mom noted this recognition came at just the right time as Emma's older sister has been receiving a lot of attention for her work with the High School color guard. She noted Emma's father Erik is also an artist.
In honor of her win, Food Lion presented a check for $1,000 to the Lowcountry Food Bank.
"During the summer months, many students no longer have access to the meals they receive at school," Said Kelly Kelley, Grants Manager of Lowcountry Food Bank. "Today's donation will help provide 6,000 meals to local children."
Emma's parents scheduled time for her to go in visit the Lowcountry Food Bank to see firsthand the work they do.
Runner-Up Heaven Lee J. – Store 738 – Bealeton, Va.
Nine year old Heaven Lee J. of Midland, Va., showed her town no one is too small to make a big difference!
Last year, Heaven Lee entered her drawing in the Food Lion Feeds reusable bag art contest, and on June 4, her dream to help end hunger came true when her art was featured on the new Food Lion Feeds reusable bag.
To celebrate, Food Lion hosted a reusable bag signing party for Heaven Lee complete with her very own cake, snacks and a brand new iPad. Local dignitaries, Chris Butler, supervisor, and Renee Culbertson, deputy clerk, even stopped by to congratulate the young finalist and purchase a new reusable bag for her to sign. Butler even purchased the first 50 bags for Food Lion associates to hand out to the first 50 customers shopping in the store.
To keep the celebration going, Food Lion Feeds donated $1,000, the equivalent of 11,000 meals, to Community Touch, a local food pantry, on behalf of Heaven Lee.
Food Lion Store Manager Paul Marshall was excited to host the party for Heaven Lee in his store. Within the first day, more than 100 bags were sold, providing more than 650 meals!
"We are so excited to have one of our local students featured on the reusable bag," said Marshall. "It is so great to see how our community partners with us and our belief that no one should ever have to choose between dinner and rent. Congratulations, Heaven Lee! We are so proud."
Runner Up Nicolas A. – Store 1681 – Sumter, S.C.
Nicolas A., 13, of Greeleyville, S.C., was named one of four finalists of Food Lion's "Summers Without Hunger" Design-a-Reusable-Bag contest.
At first, Nicolas was not going to enter the contest as he felt his drawings were not good enough. However, with encouragement from his family, he finally agreed to submit an entry, doubting all along he had a chance of winning after all he knew there would be thousands of better pictures. Upon receiving notice that he was named one of the top finalists, Nicolas thought his mother was teasing him.
Saturday, June 4, Food Lion recognized Nicolas with a signing party to showcase his drawing for his family and friends. Nicolas was also excited to know that Food Lion would be making a $1,000 donation in his name to the Harvest Hope Food Bank. Several shoppers also actually gave donations while Nicolas was signing his bags.
To top this event off, Nicolas was thrilled to receive his prize for winning first runner up, which was an IPad Mini. His sisters Abigale and Destiny were both grinning from ear to ear, hoping their big brother would share with all of them.
Runner Up Mason C. – Store 2212 – Simpsonville, S.C.
Six-year-old Mason C. normally shops at the Simpsonville, S.C., Food Lion on W. Georgia Road with his family for snacks and other nutritious Food for his family. But on early Saturday, June 4, store associates and the local community were there to celebrate him.
Mason was one of four finalists in Food Lion's Reusable Bag Drawing Contest. Food Lion Store Manager Rhonda Mauldin presented the Williamston, S.C. native with an iPad, a bag of Food Lion goodies – which included aGreenville Newsfeature on his win as well as an oversized $1,000 check to present to Harvest Hope Food Lion.
"Mason, because of you this check will provide 5,000 meals to local hungry children this summer," said Jordan Littlejohn of Harvest Hope Food Bank in Greenville, S.C.
Store associates held the brief celebratory ceremony equipped with cakes, balloons and cold drinks inside the store so that customers could also purchase the reusable bags and have Mason sign it.
Dressed in little suspenders, shirt, tie and slacks Mason seemed ready for his 15 minutes of fame.
After conducting an interview withWSPA Channel 7news, Mason was asked how he came up with the art design, to which he responded joked, "Well, you can find that out on the 11 p.m. news tonight."
Parents Jason and Joy said they were very excited for their son, who is usually more interested in video games and sports.
"It's great to see him do something that is helping the community," she said.