is saying “thank you” to the community that has embraced the local supermarket chain for more than seven decades.
To show its appreciation, the Stark County grocer is giving back a total of $20,000 among 108 local nonprofit organizations participating in a new Community Rewards program.
The Fishers family has owned the stores since they opened more than 75 years ago.
"Since it is locally owned and operated, it is very important for the family to support the community it has been a part of for so long,” said Nick Kalagidis, assistant corporate office manager for Fishers. “There are other grocery stores in Stark County, but none of them have the history or roots that Fishers Foods does. We employ more than 600 people and have an allegiance to this community.”
Fishers Foods recently introduced its Fishers Rewards card that gives customers one point for each dollar spent, and the Community Rewards program is a part of it.
Shoppers can redeem their Fishers Rewards points for gift cards to Fishers and other businesses and even toward airline tickets, Kalagidis said.
The Community Rewards program component was designed to assist area charitable organizations, he said.
The program donates 1 percent of a cardholder’s purchase to a nonprofit organization enrolled in the program. Kalagidis said cardholders just need to designate where they want their donations to go and use their Fishers Rewards card with each purchase.
Participating organizations include ; North Canton Medical Foundation; ; Friends of Stark Parks; American Red Cross of Stark County; Stark County Historical Society; and Stark County Humane Society, he said.
Kalagidis said the program, which began last month, will run until April 17 or until the $20,000 is earned by qualifying nonprofit organizations.
To receive a portion of the $20,000, each nonprofit needs to have at least 50 cardholders signed up to allocate the percentages of their purchases to the organization, he said.
The Rewards card is free and may be obtained at any of the seven Fishers stores, with the North Canton store, 8100 Cleveland Ave. NW, being the newest Fishers location.
Kalagidis said shoppers can designate* a preferred nonprofit organization online or by calling 1-888-866-9186.
“The Community Rewards program costs the cardholder nothing. They still earn their rewards points. The program is fully funded through Fishers Foods,” he said. “It totally is up to the nonprofit organizations to take advantage of the potential dollars earned. The more cardholders they recruit, the more their nonprofit earns.”
Jared Shive — with Friends of Stark Parks, a Community Rewards participant — has been gathering support for the program. He said Friends of Stark Parks, founded in 1997, is a nonprofit organization that funds improvement and enhancement projects at the parks in Stark County.
“The Friends of Stark Parks recently supported the building of a wildlife pre-release barn at the Stark Parks Sanders Wildlife Rehabilitation Center,“ he said.
Shive said all donations, like the sizable one the organization hopes to receive through Fishers Foods, are put toward the betterment of the park system.
*Editor's note: The original version of this story said readers also could designate inside the store which non-profit they would like to donate to. Fishers Foods has asked shoppers now do that online or by calling the listed phone number.