Shoppers at the Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op are being asked to “Give Up,” or round up the total of their purchases and donate the difference to charity.
The program started Oct. 1. It had already raised $1,000 in its first week, said John Bryant, a spokesman for the co-op. About 70 percent of shoppers are choosing to donate, he said. The early results have far exceeded Bryant’s expectations, he said. The co-op is matching 10 percent of the total contributions this month only.
Bryant is modeling the “Give Up” program after similar efforts happening at co-ops throughout the country. One of those co-ops, the Seward Co-op in Minneapolis, Minn., receives an average of $15, 500 in contributions a month, Bryant said.
The co-op will choose a different charity to benefit from the program each month. Any charitable group can apply to receive the donations, but the co-op will try to choose groups that encourage a healthy lifestyle, Bryant said.
This month, Happy Healthy Cooks will receive money raised from the “Give Up” program. That group visits second-grade classes at eight Roanoke city schools for 20 weeks to teach students about food and cooking. The money raised this month at the co-op will allow Happy Healthy Cooks to visit more schools next year, Bryant said.
“I really hope people see the impact that a little bit of change is making in our community,” Bryant said.