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by Vanessa Petersen   |   September 25, 2017

Dispatch from the Golden State: Ralphs/Food4Less Champions Awareness

When I got a call from Ralphs/Food 4 Less (a Kroger company) last year, I just knew it was going to be an amazing partnership. It turns out that prostate cancer and men’s health issues were not one of the Kroger priorities, but the woman I spoke with – Vanessa, too! – had a lot of interest from men in their distribution facilities in the Los Angeles area who wanted to do something for the men, and so she found ZERO.

Ralphs has 2,500 employees in the three distribution facilities in Los Angeles –with 99% of those employees being men – so there was a huge opportunity to raise awareness of prostate cancer among this community! With 1 in 8 men being affected by the disease, they were looking at potentially more than 300 distribution employees personally being affected by prostate cancer alone, not even counting the 28,000 employees that work within the retail stores. With this many men at risk, we knew it was important that they become aware.

In 2016, the Ralphs/Food 4 Less employees raised nearly $10,000 in a matter of months! We partnered with our SoCal screening partner, the Buddhist Tzu Chi Medical Foundation, and we were able to screen 119 men who otherwise probably would not have seen their doctor to be screened. It was fantastic to see the Ralphs community come together for prostate cancer awareness, and I was excited to bring it back in 2017.

This year, the Ralphs/Food 4 Less gang formed teams for the annual ZERO Prostate Cancer Run/Walk in Long Beach to kick off their 2017 prostate cancer awareness campaign. They came out with a large team of more than 40 members and generously donated all the water and post race refreshments. I loved seeing their team at the race and knew we would continue to do big things together in southern California.

Currently, in the month of September, each facility is spreading awareness in a myriad of ways: they’ve decorated their lunch rooms with blue ribbons, have prostate cancer facts and announcements about activities at every huddle up before the start of each shift, they hold fundraisers like ice cream or candy sales, sell light blue “Blue Crew” shirts, and are doing a shoe drive to collect gently used shoes for another organization who will in return donate 40 cents per pound back to ZERO. Their activities are a true inspiration in our community and an ideal model of what corporate engagement can be.

As if that weren’t enough, they also coordinated a give back night with Cal State University Long Beach’s Women’s Volleyball game on September 30th. Tzu Chi Medical Foundation will also visit their three distribution centers once again, with the goal to screen over 125 men this year.

For Ralphs shoppers, there is also an opportunity to make your grocery bill count toward the fight to end prostate cancer! Ralphs/Food 4 Less has a community contributions program where they give a percentage back from your grocery sales to the charity of your choice. If you shop at Ralphs and want to give back, follow these steps to enroll your rewards card and select ZERO as your charity of choice! Not only will you get great deals on groceries, but you’ll be giving back to an even greater cause. My grocery shopping alone has already raised $100!

Their company goal is to raise more than $10,000 this year, as well as bring much-needed and vital awareness of prostate cancer to their thousands of employees. Their work to help educate men is so inspirational! I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

If you want to get involved in the fight against prostate cancer, shoot me an email!