Aisle Chatter

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In local news, Ahold USA received high marks on the 2017 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), an annual report published by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation as a tool to rate American businesses on their treatment of gaylesbianbisexual and transgender employees, consumers and investors. Ahold USA received a score of 95 (out of 100), which reflects the company’s strong commitment to LGBTQ workplace equality. “At Ahold USA, we strive to foster an environment of acceptance and openness among our associates through providing awareness and education,” said Subarna Malakar, vice president, global diversity and inclusion. “An important step toward this goal was the formation in June of the People Respecting Individual Differences & Equality (PRIDE) Business Resource Group. The group aspires to support Ahold USA and its divisions in providing inclusive and welcoming environments to shop and work for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community.” The 2017 CEI rated a total of 1,043 businesses in the report, which evaluates LGBTQ-related policies and practices including non-discrimination workplace protections, domestic partner benefits, transgender-inclusive health care benefits, educational programs, and public engagement with the LGBTQ community. For more information about the CEI report, go to www.hrc.org/cei. Congratulations, Ahold USA – keep up the great work!

Also deserving accolades is Weis Markets, which raised over $290,000 last year for more than 100 community hunger relief organizations in the communities it serves. This includes $125,000 raised through the Weis/Penn State Athletics Fight Hunger program, which was promoted over eight weeks during Penn State home games this season and was supported through an in-store promotional program supported by the following vendors: Unilever, Pepsi, Frito-Lay, Pinnacle Foods, Kraft-Heinz, Utz, Pepperidge Farms, Swift, Kimberley-Clark, CSM Bakery Solutions, Clorox and Kellogg’s. “Food insecurity remains an ongoing challenge in many of the markets we serve, said Richard Gunn, senior vice president, merchandising and marketing. “To help, we added a second phase to our program — our new Weis/Penn State Athletics Fight Hunger program. In its first year, it helped us raise $125,000 for the Central PA Food Bank, an organization serving a region where we operate 79 stores and one where nearly 20 percent of children live in food insecure households. We are extremely pleased to be working with Penn State Athletics in support of the Central PA Food Bank and are grateful to our customers, associates and suppliers who helped us generate these donations.”

Finally, I would like to commend the Children’s Cancer Foundation for putting on such a wonderful event at its Children’s Holiday Party last month. The annual event, which this year was hosted by Tino’s Italian Bistro in Columbia, MD, serves to provide a few hours for or respite for the sick children by providing fun, food and gifts for them and their families. It also allows them to be around the doctors and nurses in plain street clothes and in a positive setting so that they get to engage with them outside of a clinical setting. A very special shout out goes out to the companies that provided the goodies for the gift bags that all of the children received from Santa: Hershey’s, Mondelez International, Utz, Tastykake and Penguin Books and to Safeway who provided store gift cards to all of the families.

I hope all of you have had a wonderful start to 2017 – may it continue to only get better as the year progresses. Happy New Year!

Until next month…