Hy-Vee Inc. is focusing on the needs of both its customers and employees with families through several initiatives launching this month.
First, Hy-Vee is celebrating September's National Family Meals Month with resources and giveaways designed to bring families together for mealtime in unique ways in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the West Des Moines, Iowa-based grocer will host several events celebrating families' cultural diversity across its eight-state region, with special attention to Hispanic Heritage Month, which begins Sept. 15.
Created by FMI—The Food Industry Association, National Family Meals Month is an industry-inspired movement to raise consumer awareness of the health and societal benefits of sharing frequent family meals. Research shows that children who share regular family meals typically display better grades, improved nutrition, stronger family relationships and higher self-esteem, and they are less likely to use drugs and alcohol.
While it’s often difficult for families to find time to sit down and enjoy a meal together due to busy schedules, Hy-Vee noted, the effects of the continued pandemic have brought new challenges and opportunities to families. With more meals being eaten at home, Hy-Vee said it is committed to bringing families together around the dinner table by making mealtime even easier.
Coinciding with National Family Meals Month is Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs Sept. 15-Oct. 15. It begins in the middle of the month to commemorate the independence of many Latin American countries, including Costa Rica, Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Nicaragua.
Throughout the month, Hy-Vee will look to help families enjoy at least one more meal together each week while also recognizing family meal traditions that stem from various heritages.
While the company says additional announcements and event details will be made throughout the month of September, currently scheduled special events and offerings include:
- Contactless drive-thru giveaways offering free dinners at select Hy-Vee and Dollar Fresh locations across Hy-Vee’s eight-state region. Full-size meals that serve 4-6 people will be given away at each event as a way to bring families together around the dinner table, especially for families in areas experiencing significant food insecurity as a result of the continued pandemic.
- Kids 12 and younger can eat free with each purchase of an adult entrée every day in September at all Hy-Vee food service departments and Hy-Vee Market Grille locations, as well as Hy-Vee-owned Wahlburgers locations. Shoppers can get one free kids meal with each purchase of a select adult entrée. The offer is valid for dine-in and carryout or delivery, where available, via the Hy-Vee website.
- Daily recipes, weekly meal ideas and grab-and-go dinner options will be offered on Hy-Vee’s social-media platforms to make mealtime easier.
- Hy-Vee KidsFit social-media platforms will share videos and resources to encourage kids and parents to stay active and make healthy choices together.
- Live cooking demonstrations with Hy-Vee chefs and dietitians will take place throughout the month on the Hy-Vee Facebook page. Viewers can participate in the Q&A session and enter for the chance to win prizes.
- Family-friendly freezer meals virtual classes led by Hy-Vee dietitians will guide participants through five days of meals to feed their family and offer customers tips and information on how they can shop and prepare food quickly and on a budget. Starting this month, classes will also be offered in Spanish.
- Eating Better on a Budget virtual store tours with a Hy-Vee dietitian will help customers navigate the aisles for eating better on a budget. Shoppers can learn strategies for planning meals, shopping smarter and comparing products for the best value.
- A digital family cooking guide containing multicultural recipes to inspire families to try new cuisines while also supporting various dietary needs and lifestyles. This resource is available on the recipe section of Hy-Vee’s website.
Separately, the company has partnered with national childcare network WeeCare to help employees find and access in-home childcare. WeeCare's network includes qualified in-home providers in both highly populated and rural areas across the United States, according to the company.
“We’re excited to add WeeCare to our extensive list of employee benefits,” Hy-Vee Chairman, CEO and President Randy Edeker said in a statement. “Many of our employees are parents or caregivers, and having affordable, trustworthy childcare when they come to work every day helps give them peace of mind. We want to be the best place to work and shop in America, and that starts with taking care of our employees.”
“Currently, only 7% of companies provide childcare assistance to their employees,” said Jessica Chang, CEO of WeeCare, in a release. “Hy-Vee is raising the bar for organizations nationwide, and WeeCare is proud to be part of the movement to support working parents.” WeeCare touts that its average tuition is generally 40% less expensive, as it offers exclusively in-home childcare with lower teacher-to-child ratios and providers conveniently located near parents’ home and work.
Hy-Vee also offers its employees free membership and unlimited access to Care.com to find caregivers, tutors, errand runners, senior caregivers, pet walkers and sitters, house cleaners and more.
Over the past two years, Hy-Vee has worked to enhance employee benefits as part of its mission to be the Best Place to Work in America. In 2020, Hy-Vee shared $68.7 million in bonuses to full-time employees and $6.5 million in bonuses to part-time employees.
Hy-Vee is an employee-owned corporation operating more than 280 retail stores across eight Midwestern states with sales of $11 billion annually.