AUSTIN, Minn. — When the state of Minnesota began shutting down businesses and cancelling gatherings in order to curb the spread of COVID-19, members of the Hormel® Natural Choice® brand team questioned if they would be able to continue their Good Feeds Us All Tour. Several brand-sponsored events had to be postponed indefinitely, including the USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore (USO-Metro) family picnic scheduled for summer. Then the team came up with a way to partner with USO-Metro to celebrate U.S. military servicepeople and their families in a safe manner. Enter the summer evening drive-in movie.
Working from their home offices near Austin, members of the Hormel® Natural Choice® brand team worked in collaboration with the USO-Metro team to stage the Good Feeds Us All event on Marine Corps Base Quantico, near Triangle, Virginia. Families – many of whom had never experienced a drive-in movie – were treated to a showing of “Spiderman,” food from Hormel® Natural Choice® and an opportunity to be together and with other families serving the United States in the midst of a pandemic. Members of the USO-Metro team and local volunteers helped execute the celebration.
“Those types of events create really special memories that bond the family,” said Col. William Bentley, CEO of Marine Corp installations, national capital region Marine Corps based Quantico. He added that in all activities aimed at bringing people together, USO activities among them, food is integral. “I don’t think you can have any event without a gathering around the table, so to speak. It really just creates that community-type feeling where you’re breaking bread and you’re sharing with other people.”
Lisa Marie Riggins knows that well. She is a member of a long-standing military family and current Executive Director of USO-Metro, one of the largest USO chapters in the world. She talked about the importance of giving military families an opportunity to be together in a safe way.
“One of the things that’s been so difficult about this pandemic is psychologically it’s been really hard for people who have been trained to be out there protecting our safety and security,” she said. “We’re helping military families, getting them out to enjoy some food and entertainment. To me, that’s powerful.”
About the Good Feeds Us All Tour
The Hormel® Natural Choice® brand team devised the Good Feeds Us All Tour in 2019 to spotlight extraordinary people and service organizations throughout the United States and to demonstrate that a simple sandwich not only nourishes bodies, it can change lives.
“We’ve sat down with people who buy our brand, and we understand a sandwich is very emotional. One consumer talked about the sandwiches her mom used to make and how they made her feel so special,” said Beth Fehrenbacher, senior brand manager for Hormel® Natural Choice®.
The Good Feeds Us All Tour began softly with a visit to the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf. It was fitting. After all, the Good Feeds Us All ad campaign kicked off with a memorable and heartwarming commercial featuring Joey, a little boy who learns American sign language in order to ask his deaf classmate if she would like to share his sandwich. “Good feeds our connections. Good feeds us all,” the voiceover proclaimed.
Hormel Foods team members hit their stride by the time they landed in Dallas to work with the Birthday Party Project, an organization that throws themed birthday parties for kids who are often forgotten. The tour then headed to Louisville, Kentucky, later in March to spotlight We Dine Together, an organization that works for inclusion – and against bullying – in high schools.
According to Fehrenbacher, at the heart of the Good Feeds Us All Tour is a desire to show consumers what the brand is made of, metaphorically speaking.
“We want consumers to see that we care,” she said. “The tour is about finding opportunities for the sharing of a sandwich to connect people and to be the catalyst to allow that to take place. This isn’t about us coming in to save the day. It’s about giving those who are already doing it a platform to share their stories.”
ABOUT HORMEL FOODS — Inspired People. Inspired Food.™
Hormel Foods Corporation, based in Austin, Minn., is a global branded food company with over $9 billion in annual revenue across more than 80 countries worldwide. Its brands include SKIPPY®, SPAM®, Hormel® Natural Choice®, Applegate®, Justin’s®, Wholly®, Hormel® Black Label®, Columbus®, Happy Little Plants® and more than 30 other beloved brands. The company is a member of the S&P 500 Index and the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats, was named on the “Global 2000 World’s Best Employers” list by Forbes magazine for three straight years, is one of Fortune magazine’s most admired companies, has appeared on Corporate Responsibility Magazine’s “The 100 Best Corporate Citizens” list for 12 years in a row, and has received numerous other awards and accolades for its corporate responsibility and community service efforts. The company lives by its purpose statement — Inspired People. Inspired Food.™ — to bring some of the world’s most trusted and iconic brands to tables across the globe. For more information, visit www.hormelfoods.com and http://csr.hormelfoods.com/.
About USO Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore
Dedicated to “serving those who serve, and their families” in Washington D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia, USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore (USO-Metro) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization chartered by Congress and trusted by the community since 1941. USO-Metro consistently earns the highest rating on Charity Navigator for outperforming most charities in its cause and exceeding industry standards. As a non-government-funded organization, it is only through the generous financial, in-kind and volunteer support of individuals and corporate partners that USO-Metro is able to succeed in its mission: to strengthen America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation. USO-Metro constantly adapts its programs and services at area military hospitals, through its Mobile USO, six USO Centers and four USO airport lounges to meet the needs of our military. Signature programs and services include holiday programs, career transition programs, and caring for our wounded, ill and injured troops and their caregivers.
Designate CFC #63343 or United Way National Capital Area #8202 to contribute.
For more information or to get involved, please visit www.usometro.org or connect online @USOMetroDC