Folk Oil’s PS Food Marts chain went to bat for hunger in Michigan and Ohio and raised more than $50,000 for local charities in just two short weeks.
From March 15-31 PS Food Mart employees at the chain’s 29 stores encouraged customers and vendors to purchase paper hearts as part of its “Fight Hunger. Give Hope” campaign. One hundred percent of the proceeds went directly to local charities: the Food Bank of South Central Michigan and Toledo Northwest Ohio Food Bank.
When the fundraiser, part of the new PS Food Mart Charity group, was completed donations surpassed the original goal of $30,000 by a whopping $20,000.
Exceeding the original goal was “very rewarding,” said Jim Linton, project manager with PS Food Mart. “We are amazed by the generosity of our customers who have given so much to help those in need. All money raised will stay in the local communities, so it really is neighbors helping neighbors. We’re also proud of our store employees because they’re the ones that executed the program and made it happen.”
As part of the charitable effort, the company wanted to resonate with customers on a local level, especially given the current economy, by selecting a charity with a direct local impact. “We thought the food bank idea was great because we know there is a need,” Linton said.
It just so happened the Food Bank of South Central Michigan had all its agencies located in the same counties where PS Food Mart had its locations. “They lined up geographically with us, so in talking to them we thought this was a good first fundraiser for donating back to the community,” Linton said.
The chain’s eight Ohio locations also fundraised for a local cause, bringing in $10,000 of the $50,000, which went to the local Toledo Northwest Ohio Food Bank.
Combined, the two food bank charities serve hundreds of thousands of people each year and ensure that local families have regular access to healthy, nutritious meals.
Leading the fundraising efforts in Michigan was a unit in Jackson, Mich. Employees of the store rallied their customers, vendors and community, to raise more than $4,000 in donations.
“Customers liked that this had a very strong local impact. That’s what we were looking for in selecting a charity—where the money customers were donating would directly impact the local need,” said Linton, who added that fundraising helps the chain connect with the local community while filling an existing need.
The company plans to embark on more fundraisers in the future. This summer PS Food Mart plans to host its annual golf outing to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Before the holiday season hits this winter Linton expects the chain will again fundraise for the local food banks.
“For chains of our size, it’s nice when you can provide your local community with help where it’s needed most,” Linton noted. He advised other chains considering a fundraiser to keep the cause local and believe in it from the top down.
“The stronger the belief in the cause from upper management down to sales associates the better because when (employees) see that we believe in the cause it has a much greater impact and a much better chance at succeeding,” Linton said. “And helping the local food banks is certainly something we’re passionate about.”