Co-op expands its ‘Round Up’ program

MARQUETTE — Following the success of its recent Round Up at the Register campaign in February that raised more than $6,000 for local food banks, the Marquette Food Co-op is extending the program throughout the year — and adding additional programming — to provide for food needs in Marquette County.

“Our shoppers’ dedication to this program made us think about how we can continue to help our community,” Sarah Monte, MFC outreach director, said in a press release. “Round Up has proven that we have the power to make a big difference in the lives of our friends and neighbors. While the co-op has many facets to our mission statement, we cannot forget that the original impetus for the creation of the store was to ‘provide acess to local, organic, wholeseome and fairly-traded food and products.’ It’s wonderful to see everyone working together to make access to good food possible for everyone.”

As co-op staff considered future programming, they received word that 2019 funding for Double Up Food Bucks has been reduced from previous years due to demand across the state. That program gives SNAP participants the opportunity to essentially double their spending power for fresh fruits and vegetables. When shoppers use their Bridge Card at the MFC, they receive a $1 voucher for every $1 spent on fresh produce — up to $20 per day — which can be redeemed for produce during a future shopping trip.

The MFC has a plan to continue to support local food banks and raise its own funds to supplement the Double Up Food Bucks funding they’ve received, all while ensuring that shoppers do not feel overburdened at the register with donation requests.

For those unfamiliar with Round Up at the Register, it’s a simple process. When checking out at the MFC, cashiers will ask shoppers if they’d like to round up their total to the next full dollar. The difference is donated to the specified cause.

Starting this week, co-op shoppers are being offered several opportunities to give back to their community at the register.

The Round Up at the Register program will take place four times a year, for a month each time. Round Up will only ever be for the United Way of Marquette County and to provide for food needs in the community.

If customers wish to Round Up year-round, they can request that this happens automatically every time they shop. This can be automated at any time or shoppers can ask to do so on any individual transaction. On months that don’t have a specified cause, all donations will be given to local food banks. Customers can ask a cashier if they’d like to sign up for automatic donations.

Due to popular demand, the co-op is giving shoppers the choice to donate their “Bring Your Own Bag” discount, which is 5 cents per bag. All the money raised will be used to order food for local food banks. The co-op is currently taking sign-ups for this program.

In February, the co-op rewarded shoppers who chose to contribute to the in-store donation bin that benefits local food banks. The MFC will continue to offer TRIPLE Owner Rewards Points on select items from its food pantry list. Look for special tags in the store on shelf-stable Field Day label products.