With supply chains strained, and customers worried and stressed, Hitchcock’s Markets donated more than 3,000 meals on a single day, March 28, 2020 to residents in their community. Hitchcock’s is a staple in rural towns across central Florida and it is not unusual for them to be a community supporter, donating more than 50,000 meals annually to people and families in need. The first store opened in 1945 and since then they have been dedicated to the people of the areas that they serve. As the pandemic began to spread, the Hitchcock’s management team came together to brainstorm how they might be able to help.
The VP of Operations at Hitchcock’s, Giselle Alvarez shared this behind the scenes with us;
“After our brainstorming session, we determined that giving away free meals during a weekend day (since other organizations and schools were giving away meals during the week) would be the most beneficial for our local citizens. The most difficult part was finding the ingredients to create over 3,000 meals in one day. During a normal time, this would have not been an issue, but during a pandemic, it was nearly impossible to gather all the materials necessary to put together these meals since suppliers were constantly shorting our orders or not showing up altogether. However, through much coordination, we were able to get all the food and materials in line for the meals for the big day. The next step was coordinating the day with our store directors and personnel. This meant working with local police, finding gloves and masks for our employees and volunteers, and organizing the drive through area at each store’s parking lot where the meals would be handed out. Finally, our last step was notifying our communities of the event in store and through social media to ensure that everyone that needed it would get a free meal that day.”
As a small business, each store’s connection with their community is strong and they knew that the members of those communities where facing a tough time, economically, and emotionally. Their customers rely on them to be a destination for essential items and they see it as their responsibility to not only be a reliable source for food and resources, but also to give back to those people. A big thank you to Hitchcock’s Markets for their hard work, dedication, and SUPPORT of our community.
For more examples on how our community’s businesses and organizations are stepping up, visit our COVID-19 Business Updates page or our SUPPORT GNV page.