During a June 2002 White House meeting, President Bush met with corporate leaders from organizations across the nation and key White House staff members to discuss objectives for his Businesses Strengthening America volunteerism campaign. Steve Smith, Food City president and chief executive officer was among the select group. Following the White House session, Mr. Smith administered the creation of Food City’s annual Claude P. Varney Volunteer Recognition Program, to reward outstanding volunteerism among their associates.
“Throughout the years, our company has wholly dedicated itself to serving the citizens of the communities in which we operate,” said Mr. Smith. “Many of our associates volunteer their time and talents to numerous organizations in support of their communities and we felt it needful to formally recognize their selfless contributions.”
Befittingly, the program was entitled in memory of Food City’s beloved former president and board vice-chairman of 47 years, Claude P. Varney. Mr. Varney was well-known for his tremendous compassion and humanitarian services.
Each year, special committees are established to review associate volunteer activities and select individual award recipients based on outstanding achievement in the areas of health, education, environment, cultural arts, recreational, heritage/history and public service. One winner is selected from each location. Store winners then move on to compete at district level, where 12 overall district winners are selected.
The winner for District 9 is Emily Harris, a cashier at Store 743 in South Cleveland. Ms. Harris has been with the store for five months.
Here is her record of service:
South Cleveland Church of God
(7 years, 4 hours weekly)
Teaches children, leads praise and worship, mentor younger students, assists in media.
Fusion Student Ministries
(5 years, 3 hours weekly)
Manages media at weekly youth services
Student leadership team- assists in making decisions for the youth activities, leads summer devotions
Event decorating committee co-chair
Salvation Army bell ringing service outreach event chair.
Bradley County Parks and Recreation
(6 months, 2 hours weekly)
Help distribute food at events
Bradley Central Student Council
(4 years, 10 hours weekly)
Organize multiple service projects in the school
Turkey Feather Food Drive- which is a large canned goods and toiletries drive that is donated to students in the community who would not otherwise have food over the winter break
Preside over weekly service projects meetings
Bradley Central National Honor Society
(2 years, 6 hours weekly)
Coordinate service projects schoolwide, communitywide, nationwide, as well as international.
These projects have included fundraising for classrooms in Puerto Rico devastated by the recent hurricanes
Bradley Central Interact
(4 years, 2 hours weekly)
Assists in coordinating schoolwide fundraiser projects to donate to the eradication of Polio
Bradley County Schools Unplug Initiative
(7 months, 2 hours weekly)
Participate in Service announcements, Service Rallies, and service days speaking to students about the harmful effects of substance abuse.
The 12 district winners attended a special corporate luncheon, where they were publicly recognized for their outstanding service achievements with an award and a $250 contribution to their charity of choice. From among the district winners, two divisional winners will next be selected and honored with a plaque and a $750 charity contribution. And finally, one overall winner will be selected to receive the prestigious Claude P. Varney Humanitarian Award and be publicly recognized for their outstanding achievements in addition to a $1,250 charity contribution made on their behalf.
“We’re extremely proud of the difference our associates make through their many humanitarian contributions," said Mr. Smith. "Our company is committed to providing our associates the support they need to become the best corporate citizens possible.”