Food Lion’s ‘incredibly passionate’ leaders support devoting millions to Charlotte’s community initiatives
SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) – Food Lion has been around since 1957. The grocery chain originated in Salisbury, North Carolina.
Meg Ham has been president of Food Lion for seven years and says the grocery store has strong values and does its part to support the community.
“We’re not just in neighborhoods,” Ham said. “We are the neighborhood and for a healthy community, that means a healthy environment in which we can operate. It’s part of who we are and a core value of caring that has been part of Food Lion since our beginnings in 1957.”
Part of Food Lion’s mission is to feed those in need. Food Lion has pledged to donate 1.5 billion meals by 2024. It has already donated more than $10 million to hunger initiatives.
“Our goal at Food Lion is to feed families,” Ham said. “And prepare them to succeed in life. I am incredibly passionate about nurturing those around us and strongly believe that no one should have to choose between dinner and rent or gas and groceries and be able to work in an organization that can provide healthy options. and affordable to many is extremely important to me. And being able to give back to those in need is also incredibly satisfying and fulfilling.
Julius Gaines is the manager of the Food Lion store on Little Rock Road. He says his employer is watching over the community, especially during the health crisis.
“A lot of companies can do things for show,” Gaines said. “Food Lion – it’s just who we are. People were hurting before the pandemic and Food Lion has always been heavily invested in the city and towns we serve when it comes to food banks and food drives and giveaways. We’ve always done that.
Food Lion really wants to make a difference. He has invested over $1 million in racial equality and social justice initiatives in the community. He also injected $50 million into M&F Bank. It is the second oldest minority bank in America.
“M&F Bank branches are right there in our Food Lion quarters,” Ham said. “And to be able to deposit money there and have the proceeds go to building economic collateral with neighbors – to be able to lend to people who want to start a business and build an economy that also pays off in our markets. It’s a great way to contribute to society.
We had a conversation with Food Lion as the nation celebrates the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The grocery chain says it embraces King’s beliefs.
“We serve everyone,” Ham said. “We serve all walks of life who come to our stores and our job is to make each of those customers feel welcome. And I think Dr. King would be proud to be able to make every customer feel welcome in our stores to do what we have to do – be part of the community. And our associates play a big role in that. They live inside the community.
Gaines has worked at Food Lion for 18 years. He believes in business and says going to work every day is the height of it.
“I just like people,” Gaines said. “Every day is my fuel – being in a store – seeing my regulars, my associates – their faces every day. It makes my day go by faster and that’s great. I’m just a people person by nature and I love what I do every day You never know with the person in the building – you could be the reason that customer chose this location They can shop anywhere I like to say that if you’re grocery shopping, smiles are free.
Food Lion and Atrium Health are teaming up with WBTV for an hour-long MLK Jr. holiday celebration. It will air on January 17 starting at 7 p.m.
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