Retail pharmacies give back

Retailers are on the front line of community outreach efforts.
Nigel F. Maynard
Editorial Director

Editor’s Note: This story provides additional context to the October 2023 cover story, "Stepping Up,” which readers can find here.

Large national chains, such as CVS, Walmart, RiteAid and Walgreens, or well-known outlets like Albertsons, Publix, Kroger, or important but smaller regional brands like Fruth Pharmacy, Thrifty White and Weis Markets play a vital role in servicing their communities, but they also give back via hunger programs, back-to-school donations, free clinics and other programs.

For example, Giant recently partnered with Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful to award $300,000 in grant money for projects that address food waste prevention. Albertsons (and the Albertsons Companies Foundation) awarded $9 million to nonprofits that are spearheading innovative programs to address food insecurity. And the Walmart Foundation and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation launched a new $1.5 million grant program to expand access to healthy, affordable food in under-resourced communities. The list goes on and on.

[Read more: Giant partners with Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful to offer Healing the Planet grant program

“CVS Health is committed to helping Americans get the care they need,” the retailer writes on its website. “As part of this, we’re dedicated to providing financial support to the communities we serve through the CVS Health Foundation, in-kind donations, employee giving, fundraising and other community investments.”

For its part, Walmart said community outreach is an essential part of how it interacts with its customers and the neighborhoods it serves. “We aim to create value for communities in many ways including through local grant programs, providing access to safer, healthier food and products, disaster preparedness and relief and supporting veterans and military families.”

[Read more: CVS Health to donate up to 1M period products through ‘Buy One, Donate Two’ program]

Another example is Kroger's mission to eliminate hunger across the U.S. Through the retailer’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Food Rescue program, the company has given 3 billion meals to its communities, recovered more than 582 pounds of surplus fresh food from its facilities and directed $1.3 billion to help end hunger.

Customers are invited to join Kroger’s mission to reduce hunger and round up the register and donate to The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation—the retailer’s public non-profit charity—that is designed to create a more equitable, waste-free food system through collective action and innovation. Round-up dollars support local organizations in communities across the country who are aligned with our mission to create communities free of hunger and waste.

At the national level, Kroger partners with Feeding America, No Kid Hungry and World Wildlife Fund. At the local level, the retailer collaborates with nonprofit organizations dedicated to improving food security and reducing food waste.

On the health care side, Kroger Health has collaborated with Cardinal Health since 2018 to host drug take back events across the U.S. To date, they have collected more than 145,000 pounds of unused and unwanted medication for safe disposal during drug take back events and served nearly 66,500 visitors.

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