Hy-Vee, Inc. is taking a big step in its efforts to help the environment. The supermarket chain announced it will fund the planting of 100,000 trees within the Midwest by the end of this fall through the Hy-Vee One Step program, which offers customers a selection of everyday products whose proceeds are donated to relevant, worthy causes.
“We pledge that we will plant 100,000 trees this year, and each year over the next several years in communities within our eight-state region,” said Tara Deering-Hansen, Hy-Vee’s group vice president of communications. “To help us reach this ambitious goal, we are expanding our line of One Step paper products and will again enlist NBA player and Olympic gold medalist Harrison Barnes to help us build awareness.”
In addition to paper towels, Hy-Vee One Step paper products have been expanded to include facial tissue, bath tissue and napkins. Beginning immediately, a portion of the sales from these products will help fund the planting of the 100,000 trees.
To ensure the donated dollars are put to the best use, Hy-Vee has teamed up with the Arbor Day Foundation and will rely on the nonprofit organization’s experts to identify areas across the Midwest that are most in need of trees.
“We’re grateful to Hy-Vee for becoming a steward of our nation’s forests,” said Dan Lambe, Arbor Day Foundation president. “Our forests are part of the long and important legacy of the people and the land of our country. Thanks to Hy-Vee’s commitment, 100,000 trees will be planted to help clean the air, protect water resources and restore habitat and beauty to forests that have suffered devastation.”
Barnes recently helped Hy-Vee kick off this major environmental initiative in Des Moines, where 40 trees were planted on the grounds of a local high school. In the coming months, the pro basketball star and Iowa native will continue to educate customers about how they can give back through the One Step program.
“Two of the most important things to me are my family and giving back. And since I’ve been in the NBA, I’ve been fortunate to work with a company like Hy-Vee who also has those same values and shared vision,” Barnes said. “I wanted to get involved in the One Step program because I believe people can take one step to make a difference.
“These trees will have a big impact in the areas where they are planted, and people will really be able to see the change and appreciate it,” he added.
Since its launch in 2012, the Hy-Vee One Step program has been educating customers on how their simple, daily buying decisions can impact change in their communities. A portion of proceeds from One Step bottled water, paper towels, shredded wheat cereal and russet potatoes have funded more than 580 community gardens, more than 305,000 meals through Meals from the Heartland, nearly 20 clean drinking wells, and more than 14,000 trees. This number will be more than 114,000 trees by the end of fall.
“We believe it only takes one simple action to make a difference in someone’s life. And the Hy-Vee One Step program would not be what it is today without the support of our customers,” Deering-Hansen said. “With their help, we know we can do more in our communities and fulfill this new commitment to plant 100,000 trees.”
Muscatine Hy-Vee Mainstreet Store Director Matt Schweizer said “It is great to work for Hy-Vee. We have the opportunity to give back so much to the people and communities that give us so much.” “The sale of the Hy-Vee brand paper towel proceeds are used to plant trees.”
Founded in 1972, the Arbor Day Foundation has grown to become the largest nonprofit membership organization dedicated to planting trees.