Dari Mart bags help FOOD for Lane County

EUGENE, Ore. - Springfield Mayor Sid Leiken and Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy showed their support of Dari Mart’s sustainability efforts by being the first to purchase the store’s new “grab•n go green” reusable bags at a kickoff event at Dari Mart’s Harlow and Game Farm Road location on Friday morning.

Dari Mart Operations Manager Kathy Gibson and FOOD for Lane County Board Member Chuck Hauk together announced that between January 15 and February 15, 2010, Dari Mart will donate all proceeds from sales of its new “grab•n go green” reusable bag sales to FOOD for Lane County.

“We use a lot of plastic bags in our store that are not necessary,” Gibson said at the event. “We hope to replace them with these reusable bags, and be more sustainable for our community.”

Mayor Piercy said of the effort, “This is good, and green. We appreciate the work of FOOD for Lane County, Dari Mart’s support of FOOD for Lane County, and their efforts in getting plastic out of our landfills.”

Mayor Leiken added, “It is very exciting to see a community based, family-owned business right here… that is committed to sustainability… with the proceeds going to FOOD for Lane County.”
Hauk called Dari Mart a “big community partner,” saying that he was “pleased on two counts” with today’s announcement, both for the sustainability efforts, and the additional donations to support FOOD for Lane County.

“If every customer who comes in on an average day bought a bag, we could raise $14,000 to provide food for those most in need,” said Kathy Gibson, operations manager.

Dari Mart will phase out the approximate 1.4 million plastic bags it uses each year with the introduction of reusable bags. Earth-friendly paper sacks will also be available when plastic bags are eliminated. Dari Mart is the first convenience store in Oregon to offer customers reusable bags.

“They’re sized right at 9” x 13”, and they’re perfect for on-the-go shoppers who are picking up a few items,” Gibson said. “They’re also very affordable at just 50¢.”

Locally owned and operated by the Gibson family for almost 45 years, Dari Mart is always looking for ways to decrease its impact on the environment.

More about Dari Mart’s sustainability efforts…
The family’s Lochmead Farms milk travels just four short miles from the dairy to the creamery in Junction City. From there, milk and ice cream are trucked less than 60 miles to reach Dari Mart stores. Additionally, 25 percent of its fresh milk is sold in reusable bottles.

The family raises 80 percent of its cows’ feed on its farm, which lessens the use of fossil fuels. It is also installing a methane digester at the farm to capture gas and turn it into electricity.

Dari Mart’s next project will be to replace lights in its coolers with more energy efficient LED bulbs.

“Our family is proud of our sustainability efforts. These reusable bags will be a real convenience for customers. Plus, by donating the proceeds from the bags, our customers will be helping others in the community. That’s a real win-win,” Gibson said.

About Dari Mart
The first Dari Mart opened in 1965, and today there are 43 stores from Albany to Cottage Grove. These small, neighborhood stores employ more than 500 people. Gladys and Howard Gibson settled on a 120-acre farm west of Junction City in 1941 and started Lochmead Dairy Farms. Today the dairy has some 1,200 Holstein cows. Four of their children oversee all aspects of Lochmead and Dari Mart operations, and seven grandchildren also work in the business.

About FOOD for Lane County
FOOD for Lane County is a private, 501(c)(3) nonprofit food bank founded in 1984 and dedicated to eliminating hunger by creating access to food. It accomplishes this by soliciting, collecting, rescuing, growing, preparing and packaging food for distribution through a network of more than 100 social service agencies and programs. These programs include emergency food boxes, shelters, meal sites, rehabilitation facilities, nutrition education, gleaning and community gardens. FOOD for Lane County serves a diverse population of people living on limited incomes including children, families, seniors and single adults. FOOD for Lane is a member of United Way of Lane County, the Oregon Food Bank Statewide Network and Feeding America. Visit foodforlanecounty.org for more information.

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