Raley’s & Bashas’ Family of Stores Team Up With FirstFruits to Donate Nearly 40,000 lbs. of Apples to Food Banks in Calif. and Ariz.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Now that pandemic-related SNAP benefits have ended, more people are turning to their local food banks to help make ends meet. Thanks to a timely collaboration, families experiencing food insecurity in parts of California and Arizona are receiving greater access to fresh produce this month.

Two grocery divisions that operate as part of The Raley’s Companies – Bashas’, which has grocery stores in Arizona and New Mexico, and Raley’s, which has grocery stores in California and Nevada – were selected by FirstFruits to participate in this year’s Take a Bite Out of Hunger initiative. Raley’s and Bashas’ are two of only three chosen to participate in the give-back collaboration this year.

Collectively, Raley’s and Bashas’ Family of Stores donated nearly 40,000 pounds of apples this week to local food banks that serve families in need in metro Phoenix and in Northern California across Placer, El Dorado and Nevada Counties.

The mission of the annual Take a Bite Out of Hunger collaboration is simple: to feed the underserved while bringing attention to the problem of food insecurity in the United States. The two grocery chains have a long history of participating in the give-back campaign; Bashas’ has participated annually since 2018, and Raley’s has been involved since the program’s inception in 2010.

Raley’s and Bashas’ Family of Stores earned the donations for their communities based on the number of apples they sold in stores in January and February. Thanks to shoppers purchasing 24% more apples during this timeframe in 2023, as compared to last year, this year’s donation will be 24% greater, as well.

“Supporting local food banks is a natural way for us to ensure that families in need in the communities we serve have access to fresh, nutrititious foods,” said Chelsea Minor, Executive Director of  Community Impact and Public Affairs for The Raley’s Companies. “Teaming up with organizations like FirstFruits allows us to extend our giving even further.”

In California, an estimated one in 11 residents experience hunger or food insecurity. Among households receiving SNAP benefits, about 49% have children. Put another way, one out of every eight California children lack consistent access to adequate amounts of nutritious food.

In Arizona, as many as one in nine people struggle with hunger, and the number of hungry children is higher yet. About one in six Arizona children – nearly 270,000 youth – experience hunger or do not have regular access to safe, affordable, and nutritious foods.

Since Take a Bite Out of Hunger’s inception in 2010, more than 2.8 million pounds of fresh apples have been donated in participating retailers’ names to local food banks in their communities.

“We’re grateful for the support we have received from Raley’s and Bashas’ over the years,” said Joe Vargas, Director of Marketing and Analytics for FirstFruits. “These community-minded grocery stores are fantastic contributors to the neighborhoods they serve.” 

About The Raley’s Companies 

The Raley’s Companies is a private, family-owned and purpose-driven retail company headquartered in West Sacramento, CA. Since our founding in 1935, our store operations have grown to include more than 235 locations across four states and four Tribal Nations under eight well-known banners: Raley’s, Bel Air, Nob Hill Foods, Raley’s O-N-E Market, Bashas’, Food City, AJ’s Fine Foods and Bashas’ Diné Market. In addition, The Raley’s Companies bridges the divide between the physical and digital retail experiences through the operation of Apium Logistics, Fieldera and FieldTRUE. Built on a higher purpose, the organization and our over 21,000 employees are committed to quality offerings, exceptional service and doing right by our team members, communities and planet. To learn more, visit theraleyscompanies.com

About FirstFruits

FirstFruits is dedicated to growing the highest quality apples and cherries in the industry. It grows more than 10 varieties of apples and cherries spread across 6,000 acres in Eastern Washington. FirstFruits is unique to the industry because its fruit is grown, stored, and packed at the same location – an unmatched practice that provides greater control over the quality and safety of its fresh produce. For more information about FirstFruits, visit wffm-wa.com.