Shaw's Supermarket chief tells Pingree that company will reconsider food donation policy
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree said that the president of Shaw's Supermarkets told her that the company would revisit their policy on donating perishable food to groups that work to feed hungry families. Jim Rice, head of the Shaw's chain, told Pingree that the company is committed to helping local hunger organizations and would reexamine a decision made two years ago to stop a program that sent food that near its expiration date to soup kitchens and food pantries.
Earlier in the week, Pingree had contacted the company about its decision to stop donating food.
"I really appreciate the company taking another look at this policy," Pingree said. "I know Shaw's is committed to the communities they operate in and they already do help hunger organizations in a number of other ways. But I hope they can also find a way to expand that commitment further by donating perishable food to soup kitchens and food pantries."
In a phone call Friday night, Rice also told Pingree that any Shaw's stores that still had arrangements to donate food to local organizations—like ones in Brunswick and Bangor—would be allowed to continue those programs.
"I know there were a few stores that have continued to donate perishable food and Shaw's made a commitment to grandfather those arrangements," Pingree said. "They promised not to pull the plug on donations to feeding programs in Brunswick and Bangor while they reexamine the policy."
An estimated 40% of food produced every year in the United States is wasted, meanwhile nearly 50 million people struggle with hunger. Pingree says if food waste is reduced by just 15% and good quality, wholesome food is redirected to people in need, the number of hungry Americans could be cut in half.
This week, Pingree introduced the Food Recovery Act, a comprehensive package of legislative proposals aimed at reducing wasted food and promoting food recovery in America. At a press conference at the Portland Food Co-op on Monday, Pingree was joined by representatives from organizations fighting hunger in Maine and food retailers who had committed to sending excess food to those organizations.