The spotlights were on, the blue carpet was set and Food Lion Feeds feeding partners were ready to make a grand entrance at the first annual "Feedys" Awards.
The inaugural event honored those who share the company's commitment to ending hunger in the communities Food Lion Feeds serves by awarding four special "Feedys" awards, 14 Food Lion Feeds Charitable Foundation Kid's Café Grants, as well as recognizing the years of service for each of its food bank partners.
Before the awards ceremony began, Food Lion Feeds showed guests a special video highlighting all of the hard work done by food banks, community partners and Food Lion associates, totaling more than 180 million meals for children, families and veterans throughout Food Lion's operating areas to date.
Next, Tom Kelly, Food Lion vice president of accounting, took the stage to present 14 Kid's Café grants on behalf of the Food Lion Feeds Charitable Foundation totaling more than $143,000. Each food bank received a $10,000 check to continue feeding students at after-school programs, as well as contribute to other activities children can participate in through various programs offered at the food bank. In addition to these grants, The Foundation also gave a $13,000 grant to Feeding America's corporate office to invest in programs benefitting students at risk of hunger.
Following the check presentation, Greg Finchum, senior vice president of operations at Food Lion, was joined on stage by Food Lion President, Meg Ham, and Director of External Communications, Christy Phillips-Brown, to present the Prowess Partnership awards honoring each food banks' years of service.
And next, the moment everyone was waiting for, the presentation of The "Feedy" Awards. Designed to honor four very special hunger heroes, the awards included "The Lion Heart Award," "The Store That Roars," "The Lion's Pride Award" and "The Food King Award."
The Feedys inaugural winners include:
The "Lion Heart" award recognizes an individual that demonstrates outstanding skills in coordinating and motivating groups of donors and volunteers for Food Lion Feeds' hunger-relief projects to benefit partner food banks.
The "Food King" award honors a food bank that demonstrates an outstanding commitment to ending hunger through financial support, innovation, encouragement and by motivating others to take leadership roles in hunger-relief programs and community involvement.
The "Lion's Pride" award recognizes a Food Lion associate that demonstrates outstanding skills in coordinating and motivating associates and volunteers for hunger-relief projects for the benefit of Food Lion Feeds and its partner food banks.
The "Store That Roars" award honors a store that demonstrates outstanding skills in coordinating and motivating store associates, customers and volunteers for hunger-relief projects to benefit Food Lion Feeds and its partner food banks.
Finally, the company held a special tribute to its late co-founder, Ralph W. Ketner, who recently passed away at the age of 95 on Sunday, May 29, 2016, by donating 95,000 meals to Rowan Helping Ministries in Salisbury, N.C. As Ketner was a catalyst in starting the agency, Food Lion President Meg Ham presented him with an honorary "Lion's Heart" award for all he did to fight hunger in Food Lion's hometown market.