Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Visiting the Alive! Food Pantry

If you've been reading this blog for any period of time, you've probably picked up on the fact that I am somewhat uncomfortable with the commercialism surrounding the December holidays.  Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or even Festivus, it is important to not forget the meaning and spirit of the season.

This is probably very much at odds with my ownership of Zoe.  In the retail world, the holiday shopping season is considered critical to the overall success of the business.  And, I'm participating in a number of events (Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Coupons) that promote shopping at this time of year.  But I kept thinking that I wanted to find a way to do something positive for Zoe's hometown of Alexandria that would be a win for the charity and a win for my customers.

Last year, we hosted a 50th wedding anniversary party for Jim's parents.  They do a lot of work for their local food bank in Central Virginia and had told us of the ever-increasing needs for this organization.  Knowing that they did not want gifts, we asked the attendees (in lieu of a gift) to bring a donation for the food bank.  We also decided that, rather than giving the guests favors, we'd donate the money we would have spent on favors to the food bank as well.  We were so delighted to deliver over 450 pounds of food to their local food bank as a result of the party!

Also one of my mentor boutiques, Duo New & Used Clothing in Charlottesville, sponsors a food drive with their customers.  Greer designed the program to allow for discounts based on food donations.  I asked her if she would mind if I did something similar at Zoe!  But what was the right organization in Alexandria?  I contacted the Executive Director of ACTion Alexandria for advice.  He directed me to ALIVE!

A partnership with ALIVE! was exactly what I was looking for.  I've asked Zoe's customers to bring canned goods to Zoe in exchange for a 1% discount for each item donated (up to 30 items).  A customer brings 10 items for donation, they get 10% off their purchase!  Everyone wins!  We will be running this program through January 6th.

On Monday, I went by to meet the team at ALIVE! and get a greater understanding of their needs.  I took some pictures during my visit.

You can see that they could use some more tuna, canned beans, and spaghetti products!

Soup is also a significant need as well as pasta sauce!

We are honoring the Donations for Discounts through all of our Black Friday sales and other coupon discounts.  I would love to make a huge delivery to ALIVE! on Monday.


  1. This is such a great way to combine your business with doing good for others.

  2. Thank you, Juice. It is definitely a passion of mine for the business to have a positive impact in the community!