As a Meijer executive, Amanda McVay is no stranger to what goes on in the food industry. In early 2020 when food was flying off grocery store shelves and the food bank was struggling to source enough of it, Amanda offered Feeding America West Michigan valuable insight on what to expect.
“Obtaining food was challenging. We were figuring out how to best forecast that and how to meet the need,” she recalled.
Now, she’s approaching her third year on the board and recently filled the board chair position.
“I knew my background would be helpful in that leadership position because that’s similar to what I do at Meijer — leading a big team,” she said. “My favorite part is getting to know all the people — just the personal connections with other board members and individuals who work at the food bank has been special. And then knowing that we are helping the community, putting people and relationships first.”
Amanda first became aware of the need after college, when she started volunteering at hunger-relief events in Minneapolis.
“It really opened my eyes,” she said. “I got to really understand who these individuals and families were. It just very much struck a chord of ‘hey, we can help here, not only just with physical labor, but in how can we incorporate this into the way we run businesses.’”
Amanda was involved with her local food bank back in Minneapolis, so when she moved to Grand Rapids, she wanted an opportunity to help here, too. A board position opened up at the perfect time. Since she joined, she’s offered insight in product sourcing, outreach to clients and business strategy.
She draws these skills from her role as Meijer’s Group VP of Customer Strategy & Marketing. In this position, she strategizes new ways to advertise to community members and source product that meets their needs.
From donating surplus food to Feeding America West Michigan to supporting local hunger-relief organizations through their Simply Give program, Meijer fights hunger in a wide range of ways.
“It’s a huge part of our purpose as an organization — to enrich lives in the communities we serve,” Amanda said. “The whole organization is aware if not actively involved. We’re encouraged to volunteer as a team to develop our relationships, have fun and give our time to our community.”
Amanda is excited for new initiatives Feeding America West Michigan is planning and would like to see the food bank explore ways to assess how making healthy food accessible impacts the health of the neighbors we serve.
“We talk a lot about pounds of food. I really want to talk about the actual outcomes of what we’re able to impact from a health perspective,” she said.
Feeding America West Michigan is honored to have Amanda’s insight and passion on our board of directors. Her hard work is one important piece to the puzzle of hunger relief across West Michigan and the Upper Peninsula — thank you!