Meijer supports local restaurants with holiday meals initiative

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Jackie Bruce prepares hundreds of individually packaged stir fry dishes at Timothy's Restaurant for Meijer team members in Lincoln Township. Courtesy Meijer

Meijer recently launched a holiday meal program designed to support local restaurants and show appreciation to the frontline workers in its stores and distribution centers.

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, every Meijer store and distribution center will provide four holiday meals — each catered by a different restaurant from its community — to thank its team members for their dedication and hard work.

“As a family-owned Midwestern company, we know that communities are built around local businesses,” Meijer President and CEO Rick Keyes said. “These meals not only show our support of our team members but also of the local businesses our communities depend upon. Both groups truly deserve a little extra appreciation this holiday season.”

With nearly 300 Meijer facilities hosting multiple holiday appreciation meals for their team members in the coming weeks, the retailer plans to make a significant impact on local restaurants struggling due to COVID-19. It estimates local businesses will cater more than 1,000 holiday meal events in its facilities by the end of the year, serving more than 250,000 individual meals to its team members.

“It means a lot to have Meijer’s support,” said chef Timothy Sizer, owner of Timothy’s Restaurant in Union Pier, who provided 275 Hawaiian chicken stir fry meals to the Lincoln Township and Benton Harbor Meijer stores in November. “It was a huge boost for us. I was able to bring in three extra people to help prepare the meals on a day we wouldn’t normally be open. They were thrilled for the extra shifts.”

Timothy’s Restaurant has been a mainstay of its lakeshore community, providing upscale farm-to-table dining for the past 20 years, but as is the case with many restaurants, this year has been tough on the local business. In 2020, Timothy’s has seen its volume drop by 80%, and Sizer had to reduce his team of 35 to six.

As a chef, Sizer spends a lot of his time in his local Meijer store.

“I go to Meijer almost every day, mainly because of the great produce selection,” Sizer said. “When you’re there so often, you start to build relationships with everyone from the greeter to the store director. They’re just really good people. It’s nice to go in and everyone knows you by name.”

Having partnered with Sizer in March on a similar initiative to feed store team members from local restaurants being affected by the pandemic, Lincoln Township store director Rob Vassar was eager to support him again.

“We are so pleased to be able to provide such a high-quality meal for our team members as a sign of our appreciation,” Vassar said. “The food is great, and it’s made even better by knowing we’re supporting a local business when they need us.”

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