The Brothers of Harmony Masonic Lodge #42 recently recognized the local Food Lion for their outstanding support of the community. Steve Holmes, member of the Lodge, shared that the grocery has consistently worked with the Masons in helping to provide goods to those in need.
"The number of people to whom they donate cannot be figured," Holmes said.
The store, weekly, provides the Lodge with items food items that are day-old or are coming close to expiration, said Doug Whiteman, store manager.
"We give items that we feel we won't be able to sell before the expiration date," Whiteman said. He also said that over orders are also donated along with other items.
"I would guess that we have given more than $50,000 in goods this year to the Masonic Lodge's efforts to help the community," Whiteman said.
Whiteman explained that the store is able to donate these items only to organizations that are licensed to redistribute them. He explained that perishable items that leave the store must be taken in coolers to keep the refrigeration.
The Masonic Lodge picks up about three times per week, Whiteman said. He shared that even with the significant amount of goods that group is able to take and redistribute to those in need, there are still items that he would be able to give to other organizations. He shared that because of the licensing requirements, he is not able to give directly to an individual or a group that is not licensed.
The corporate offices of Food Lion, as well as the local store, must have protection from any potential legal issue, he said. With that said, Whiteman explained that licensed groups can contact the home office through the Community Affairs division to find out how to secure charitable contributions from the local stores.
Holmes shared that the local market has been instrumental in donating to the local community.
"You can't put monetary value on this," Holmes said. "When you see the look on people's faces who are getting the food, you just can't put a value on it."
Holmes said that the Lodge, which has about 28 active members, has been offering the donation program for three years. He explained that their annual "Feed the Hungry for Thanksgiving" led to an expansion of the efforts that were initially set around the holiday.
"It would have been impossible to do this without Food Lion," Holmes said. "They are certainly giving back to their community."
Whiteman, who has served as store manager here for about four years, said that every event his store has done to contribute to charitable causes has been met with great support from the community. The store participates in Food Lion's corporate support of the Children's Miracle Network and is currently collecting for Easter Seals.
"Every event we have done has raised a lot of money," Whiteman said. "Our sales for 2014 are also up 13 percent," he shared as he continued to commend the community for their support of the business.
"I am proud to lead this store where the associates care about and are excellent at serving the customers," Whiteman said.
He explained that individual store managers have leeway in determining their charitable giving. He has led the Shepherdstown store in something he believes is important-giving back to the community.