April 8, 2011 | 7:22 AM
Rarely if ever is a trip to the grocery store transformed into a learning experience. I’ve always found shopping at Whole Foods to be the exception. Many people choose to shop at Whole Foods because of their dedication to supporting locally grown produce, which is detailed in great length on their Whole Story Blog. However, one lesser-known aspect that really makes Whole Foods stand out is their dedication to the community, specifically non-profit organizations.
Last Thursday, March 31, Grameen America was lucky enough to be chosen for a second time as the beneficiary of Whole Foods 5% Community Giving Day. For the entire day, 5% of all profits from Whole Foods NYC stores went to benefit impoverished American entrepreneurs who are working towards a better life with the help of microloans from Grameen America. The Community Giving Day was a complete success, not just from a fund raising standpoint (we raised over $50,000!!!) but for raising awareness as well.
Grameen America was represented throughout the day at each of the six NYC Whole Foods store locations by a selection of our great staff and volunteers. I was assigned to the Whole Foods Columbus Circle location and they set everything up perfectly, including some nice snacks to give out to shoppers interested in learning about Grameen America. I was stationed right near the entrance and the market was packed all day! While most people rushed past, quite a few noticed our sign advertising the 5% Community Giving Day (pictured left) and stopped to chat.
I met some really interesting people including one shopper from Bangladesh who grew up in the next village over from Professor Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Laureate and Founder of the Grameen Bank. He was filled with praise for the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh and excited to tell me that he knew all about Grameen America. Other interested shoppers knew of Professor Yunus and had even read his book Creating a World Without Poverty but did not know about our domestic programs yet. They were all excited to learn that the program had made it stateside and was experiencing similar success in improving the lives of impoverished Americans.
It was really nice to see that even in a market where shoppers were clearly in a hurry, they still took the time out of their day to stop and learn about something new. For those who stopped by, this was surely not a typical shopping experience but we hope it was an enriching one!
Thank you, Whole Foods for this wonderful opportunity and for your continued support!