Growing Up Fresh

The United Fresh Start Foundation is focused on one core mission — to increase children’s access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

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Amy Simeri McClellan on Why Martin’s Super Markets Supports a Foundation Grantee

Dec 14, 2018

Martin’s Super Markets is a long-time supporter of the Youth Service Bureau of St. Joseph County in South Bend, Indianapolis, an organization that received a 2018 United Fresh Start Foundation Community Grant. We chatted with Amy Simeri McClellan, Senior Vice President, Retail, Martin’s Super Markets, to learn how that partnership has benefitted their company and their community. Amy also serves on the FreshStart 2019 Advisory Committee.

Why is the United Fresh Start Foundation valuable?

The United Fresh Start Foundation provides a way to further emphasize that incorporating fresh fruits and veggies should be a key part of daily life, for all populations, including those with barriers to success. With the recent grant from United Fresh Start Foundation, our partner, Youth Service Bureau (YSB), reached two distinct populations in exciting ways.

Can you provide an overview of how the Foundation and Martin’s work together to support Youth Service Bureau?

YSB provides crisis intervention services for runaway and homeless teens and young adults, including emergency shelter, transitional living for pregnant and young moms, and supportive programming. Part of the United Fresh Start Foundation Community Grant to YSB enabled the organization to share fresh fruits and veggies during its annual Roofsit event, which brings thousands of families to Martin’s Super Markets’ Heritage Square location. There, we hosted a “Fun & Fresh area” with YSB, where Chef April Howell created “Super Green Smoothies” for kids made with apple, kale, pineapple, and spinach and “Pookies” – fresh apples with peanut butter and other items that kids decorated and ate.

The second part of the grant allows YSB Safe Station Shelter residents and its transitional living program to participate in Martin’s School of Cooking, where they learn about the benefits of eating healthy, try fresh fruits and vegetables, and prepare meals. The United Fresh Start Foundation provided funds to purchase produce and create educational materials for the classes. Starting in January, YSB clients will attend classes at the Martin’s School of Cooking.

How did you identify an organization to support?

For Martin’s, it has been important to support YSB because of the positive impact they have on our community. Their focus on health and wellness education is improving the quality of life of many in the communities we serve. YSB’s emphasis on how healthy foods can be the foundation for wellness is aligned with our health and wellness education programs offered to shoppers through our Eat Smart Be Well initiatives.

What impact does your partnership with Youth Service Bureau have on Martin’s?

Partnering with YSB allows Martin’s to reach an audience that might not already be shopping in our stores. When we help them via YSB and help make a positive impact on their life through healthy eating, we create a relationship that goes beyond an item and price in an ad. These partnerships also give our associates and customers a cause to support and to be excited about.

What advice do you have for retailers about how they can get started or more involved in their own partnership with a local organization?

Research non-profits in your own communities to learn how your stores can help be a resource for health and wellness education and increasing consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. As a retailer, it’s beneficial to be aligned with agencies that are committed to overall wellness, focusing on healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables.

Youth Service Bureau is being featured at FreshStart 2019. What would you tell a retail peer about the event?

The produce industry is exciting! People associated with produce are passionate about healthy eating and improving the communities in which they live and work by increasing consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. Attending FreshStart 2019 is a great way to network with other retailers and industry experts who are creating memorable shopping experiences with produce in the center of the plate.

During the FreshStart 2019 Conference on January 16, 2019, hear firsthand from Christina McGovern, Youth Service Bureau’s Director, Development & Marketing, on how YSB, in partnership with the United Fresh Start Foundation and their local Martin’s Super Markets, works to improve the lives of the youth of their community. For a preview of the conference session, check out the article on YSB from August.

Throughout the half-day conference, you’ll learn how to grow your business through the stories and experiences of produce companies, retailers and foodservice companies who are connecting with their communities to increase kids’ access to fresh produce.

For more information on the FreshStart 2019 Conference, contact Kate Olender at 202-303-3420.

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