Business

Major Retailer Plays Big Role in Addressing D.C.’s Food Insecurity

Macy’s Collaborates with Local Organizations

Through its annual Bag Hunger campaign, Macy’s helps deliver food directly to the doors of hungry families throughout the District.

“Giving back has always been a part of what we’re about at Macy’s, and now through our round-up campaign, we’re able to connect our give back strategy to what’s important to our local communities — and obviously food insecurity is a big deal here in the D.C. Metropolitan area,” said Elwyn Mapps, divisional vice president of Macy’s for the Maryland and Washington, D.C., area.

Washington, D.C., currently ranks as one of the leading cities battling food insecurity within the nation, having accounted for 415,000 cases prior to the pandemic, amassing 16 percent of the city’s resident population.

Operating the Bag Hunger campaign since 1998, the retailer donates money to nonprofits working to deliver food, and resources straight to the doors of hungry families across the District.

Local organizations spearheading the fight against food insecurity, such as Food and Friends Inc., and the Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB), actively continue to provide food distributions for residents.

On Friday, March 26, the CAFB welcomed Macy’s colleagues from 17 local stores to assist with on-site meal packaging and distributions to various families in need.

“Food insecurity was already at unacceptably high levels for our nation’s Capital or anywhere before the pandemic. Even before COVID-19, we were seeing about 400,000 [people] throughout our region, who weren’t sure where their next meal was going to come from,” said Hilary Salmon, CAFB director of marketing and communications. “Now as a result of the pandemic over this last year, we’ve seen hunger and food insecurity increase by 50 percent, so that’s about 200,000 [additional] people.”

Nationally, food insecurity plagues the homes of 13.7 million Americans, with D.C. comprising a significantly large percentage of insecure residents in comparison to averages statewide.

District CAFB has seen thousands of volunteers amid the health crisis to help service hungry residents, as participant numbers have significantly increased in respect to rising cases.

Capital Area Food Bank service area expands the range of Washington, D.C., Prince George’s and Montgomery counties in Maryland, and Fairfax, Arlington, Prince William, and Alexandria in Virginia.

Macy’s has pushed a conservative effort to develop a heavier relevance in Washington, D.C., Prince George’s, Montgomery, and Howard counties, while now including Baltimore.

“Our food bank partners have done a great job in making their working environment COVID friendly, and our stores have found a great way to contribute in light of the current environment,” Mapps said.

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