Hunger affects 42.2 million people in the United States, including children and the elderly, in both urban and rural communities. Not always visible, it’s nevertheless a devastating source of anxiety and a barrier to many opportunities for one in seven people in the country. It’s a crisis that can’t be ignored.
That’s why Rent-A-Center is partnering with Feeding America, the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity, to fight food insecurity with the help of its more than 3,000 stores nationwide.
“Rent-A-Center has supported hunger-relief efforts since 2002,” says Gina Hethcock, senior manager for public and community relations. “Fighting hunger is a big part of our corporate giving efforts.”
Each September, which is Hunger Action Month, RAC stores collect cash donations for hunger-relief organizations such as the North Texas Food Bank, located near the company’s headquarters. “Our past efforts have been more on a local level,” Hethcock says. “By partnering with Feeding America, we can streamline the giving process in order to make a bigger impact.”
Throughout the month, RAC employees and customers will have the opportunity to support Fill the Fridge, RAC’s new hunger initiative. The money raised will support local food banks affiliated with Feeding America.
Starting September 1, RAC customers can purchase a tag for $1 to be displayed on store windows, or they can participate in a Keep the Change campaign at checkout. During this time, new RAC customers can also choose to donate to Fill the Fridge in lieu of a down payment. Customers can also make additional donations online or in-store through September 30.
RAC employees will have the opportunity to give through the company’s website, and individual stores can participate in healthy competition with other sites. “Employee engagement is a big part of collecting donations from customers,” Hethcock says. “Without them, there wouldn’t be a hunger-relief program.”
Last year, RAC stores raised $20,000 for local food banks. This year’s goal is $150,000. The 2017 Hunger Action Month campaign asks people to consider the universal feeling of an empty stomach, and how no one can reach his or her full potential when hungry.