Gracious grocer gives 1 million pounds of food

Clients at the St. Paul W. 7th St. Salvation Army shop for food at a weekly farmer's market-style event

There are a million reasons why Lund Food Holdings Inc. is a great grocery company – literally.

The company’s Lunds and Byerly’s stores are on pace to give the Twin Cities Salvation Army no less than 1 million pounds of food in 2012. Since October, they’ve been giving an average of nearly 100,000 pounds per month.

The Twin Cities Salvation Army distributes the food at its eight local food shelves and three of its living facilities. The food includes perishable items that The Salvation Army could otherwise not afford: bakery items, dairy products, deli meats, produce and the like.

“Instead of throwing the food out, they give it to us and we’re able to hand it out the same day,” said Dave Johnson, assistant social services director of the Twin Cities Salvation Army. “The food is a blessing. Many families couldn’t do without it.”

The Salvation Army not only distributes the food, it also cooks with it – especially at The Salvation Army Harbor Light Shelter, which feeds hundreds of people a day.

“If Lunds hands over a few sacks of spuds in the morning, you can bet Harbor Light will be serving mashed potatoes for dinner,” Johnson said.

The partnership began seven years ago. Today The Salvation Army picks up food from 20 local Lunds and Byerly’s stores – plus one Byerly’s in St. Cloud – almost every weekday.

Beyond food, Lunds and Byerly’s help people in need by hosting Salvation Army bell ringers every Christmas season. In 2011, The Salvation Army raised more than $230,000 in kettle donations outside the stores – enough money to provide 200 people with two meals a day for a whole year.

“Companies like Lund Food Holdings make the Twin Cities a better place by not only creating jobs and providing valuable services, but by using their resources to care for people and families struggling to survive,” said Major Jeff Strickler, Twin Cities Salvation Army commander. “We applaud the company’s efforts and value their partnership.”

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