We recently had the chance to hear more about HumanKind’s partnership with Dillons from Sheila Lowrie, Corporate Affairs Manager. Dillons has been a Compassion Sponsor for Operation Holiday since 2018, and they have supported HumanKind for more than 20 years. Keep reading for an inside perspective on being an Operation Holiday sponsor.
Tell us a little more about Dillons.
At Dillons, we believe that everyone deserves to have access to fresh, affordable and delicious food, no matter who you are, how you shop, or what you like to eat. We are proud to be your neighborhood grocery store for the past 99 years and counting. It’s humbling to know the name for “grocery store” for so many Kansans is simply, Dillons. Especially this year, our most urgent mission is to be here for our customers when they need us most, with open stores and open-hearted hospitality.
How did you get involved with HumanKind?
Dillons and HumanKind have had a long-standing partnership to offer a helpful hand to those in need. Since the 1990s, we have worked together with donations, monetary contributions, food vouchers for families, and through harnessing the generous spirit of our Dillons customers. More recently, we have partnered with Operation Holiday for Dillons Day of Giving and additional support through our Zero Hunger Zero Waste vision.
What interested you in partnering with HK?
HumanKind’s Operation Holiday fulfills such a critical role in our community to ensure families living with less are able to celebrate the season. This year, the holidays will be especially meaningful. For myself, it’s the little things that mean so much–the warmth of a smile, the generosity in our hearts to share hope, and the sense of community when offering a meal to someone in need. Operation Holiday brings just that to so many families.
How else does Dillons give back to the Wichita community?
At Dillons, we believe that no one in our community should go hungry, and no food in our stores should go to waste. There is a fundamental problem in our food system: 40% of the food produced in the U.S. is thrown away, yet 1 in 5 Americans now struggle with hunger (a number that has grown significantly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic from 1 in 9 people in 2019). These numbers are more than statistics, as they are the faces of people you see every day–your neighbor down the street, a child’s classmate, and even our friends or family members. Our Zero Hunger | Zero Waste social impact plan is our commitment to end hunger in our communities and eliminate waste across our company by 2025. These plans are put into place right here in Wichita, with food rescue, product donations, and monetary contributions to place hunger relief at the heart of who we are.
In Wichita, several organizations are also signed up with Community Rewards. Each year, we earmark $2M for nonprofit organizations, local schools, and churches to earn based on their supporters who shop with us at Dillons. I like to say that Community Rewards is a way we say thank you to our very best customers by making a donation to an organization that matters to them. It’s one of the many ways we strengthen our communities.
What is your favorite part of Operation Holiday?
I have four favorites about Operation Holiday. The first is serving as a dedicated shopper to interact with clients and learn a little more from the people we serve. My second is the friendly competition when it comes to replenishing the food items and seeing volunteers up their game to make sure the lines remain filled. (I’m a grocer at heart, so this is very familiar!) My third favorite is the shouts of excitement from Marines with Toys for Tots, as it adds so much energy–especially when there is a bicycle involved. Last but not least, I enjoy serving as a call-taker for the Operation Holiday Telethon with KSN. My parents always call to donate, and someone will usually shout, “Sheila, your mom’s on the phone!”
Dillons is a great reminder of the community that helps make Operation Holiday possible. We are so grateful for their continued support at the holidays. Learn more and get involved today.