Dollar General is making a major commitment to providing access to food resources in rural and underserved communities.
The discounter, which currently offers fresh produce in more than 1,300 stores, plans to expand the offering in up to 10,000 locations, including a “meaningful” number of stores located in United States Department of Agriculture defined food deserts. The expansion comes as Dollar General has entered into an operational partnership with Feeding America to provide access to food resources in rural and underserved communities and to proactively address food insecurity across the country. Approximately 75% of Dollar General stores serve communities of 20,000 or fewer individuals.
One of Dollar General’s top initiatives in recent years has been the addition of freezer and cooler space in new and remodeled stores to allow stores to offer more refrigerated and frozen products. . More recently, the retailer has been adding fresh produce. Dollar General said its stores offering produce feature the top 20 items typically sold in grocery stores and approximately 80% of the produce categories carried by most grocers.
“Food insecurity impacts communities across the country, and given that Feeding America projects that 42 million people may face hunger as a result of the pandemic, we want to be part of the solution for those facing this issue,” said Todd Vasos, Dollar General’s CEO. “With our extensive store footprint, often in communities others have chosen not to serve, Dollar General is uniquely positioned to help combat hunger by offering convenient access to a variety of nutritious foods at affordable prices. Our work with Feeding America builds on these efforts by providing in-kind donations of perishable foods to help nourish and feed those in need. Together with Feeding America and local community food banks, we look forward to making a measurable impact in the fight against food insecurity.”
Dollar General’s work with Feeding America includes a $1 million donation, as well as in-kind donations of perishable and nutritious food to community food banks.
In addition to weekly collections, the partnership will provide opportunities for Feeding America and local food banks to collect food items during times of crisis. For example, when Hurricane Zeta impacted an Atlanta-area Dollar General store in October 2020, Feeding America and its partners at the Atlanta Community Food Bank quickly collected food items and distributed them within the community.
Dollar General and Feeding America initially began testing food donations in summer 2020 in several Indianapolis and Atlanta-area stores, and Dollar General recently expanded its donation footprint to its DG Fresh cold storage facilities. In 2020, Dollar General’s donations provided more than two million meals to those in need.