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Food Unites Communities
Food connects all of humanity, no matter the culture. In our pandemic-reality, the worldwide web of people fosters global connection, strengthening a Wired for We camaraderie that focuses on belonging and collective power.
Nothing is more powerful than a community coming together to feed each other. Earlier this year when the pandemic began, 32 community fridges sprung up around Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and Albany linking fellow New Yorkers together through free excess food. With 1 out of 4 people in NYC food insecure as of May 1 2020, food serves not only as a means of sustenance but a lifeline of survival during the pandemic. Now as the cold season approaches, community collective In Our Hearts NYC is raising funds to build shelters for the fridges to sustainably last the winter. Donations can be made to @iohnyc on Venmo.
As COVID-19 keeps some people away from brick and mortar shops, online food and beverage marketplaces continue to fuel communities safely. According to Nielsen, the August four-week average of online grocery sales reflect a 92% increase compared to the same time period last year. Even online grocer FreshDirect hired 1,000 workers from truck drivers to butchers to more efficiently manage the increased dependability communities need. As winter draws more people inside, people can rest easy knowing they have reliable and safe grocery delivery options for them and their loved ones.
Food is keeping family fun alive, too. To preserve Halloween cheer this year, food brand Hostess created the “Bring Hostess Halloween Home” campaign, a three-week dessert crafting series for kids to enjoy making treats (and tricks) from the safety and comfort of their homes. Despite the absence of traditional trick-or-treating, Hostess helped fun family connections and togetherness thrive.
Brands can help bridge communities, too. A home retail brand can create sponsored community shelves across major cities where free overstock products (think much needed home cleaning products and cozy blankets) can be repurposed by those in need. Plant the shelves on highly accessible community center sidewalks. Surprise communities in need by including discount codes and coupons available through the community shelves. Contributing to community support in trying times will strengthen community ties and loyalty.