Two local residents are vying for a company-wide Food City award.

Each year, Food City recognizes exceptional volunteerism among its associates through its Claude P. Varney Volunteer Recognition Program.

“As a company, we strive to maintain a high level of dedication to service, quality, value and community engagement, while providing a work environment that allows our associates to thrive at. both personally and professionally as successful team members, ”said Steven C. Smith, President and CEO of Food City.

Of the 134 total store-level winners, two from McMinn County were honored.

Linda Morrow was announced as the store-level winner in Athens and Kami Kawakami took home the award in the Etowah store.

Morrow’s charitable efforts include being a member of the Starr Regional Medical Center Women’s Auxiliary and volunteering with Coordinated Charities.

“The Auxiliary was formed 55 years ago with a mission dedicated to helping others maintain the health of the patient and to bond emotionally with confined patients and families, whether in hospital or in a nursing / rehab facility, ”Morrow said. “Each member is committed to giving of their time to serve and meet the needs of the patient and their family. “

While at Coordinated Charities, Morrow said she spent about four hours a week collecting canned goods for those in need in the local community.

Morrow also provides snacks and / or a meal to staff at a local assisted living facility where his mother lived “as a thank you”.

As for Kawakami, her favorite charity is SHARD (Safe Haven Animal Rescue Program) and she has been a part of it for almost five years.

As a member of that organization, Kawakami said she takes photos of adoptable animals and helps pick up supplies.

“This means that I am one of those people who go out looking for cat / dog food or supplies that need to be picked up,” she said. “I also run / co-lead a local food drive that takes place every month in Benton that helps local families take care of their pets. I sit as a member of the board of directors of this non-profit organization.

After attending a White House meeting in June 2002 aimed at boosting national volunteerism through corporate support, Smith administered the creation of Food City’s Claude P. Varney Volunteer Recognition Program in memory of the former chairman and vice-chairman of the company’s board of directors.

“Throughout his 47-year career, Varney brought a great deal of forethought and knowledge to Food City and the grocery industry as a whole, but he was best known for his immense compassion and humanitarian service. “Said a press release of the award.

“Many of our associates dedicate their time and talents to many service organizations in the areas in which we operate and we believe there is a need to recognize the valuable services and support they provide,” said Smith.

Each year, special committees are established to review the activities of associate volunteers and select award recipients based on their outstanding achievements in health, education, environment, cultural arts, recreation. , heritage / history and public service.

An overall winner is selected from each Food City location and corporate level.

The store winners then move on to compete at the district level. Twelve district winners are recognized with prizes and a $ 250 contribution to their charity of choice.

Two division winners are then chosen and honored with a plaque and a charitable contribution of $ 750. And finally, an overall winner is selected to receive the Claude P. Varney Humanitarian Award and be publicly recognized for their accomplishments in addition to a charitable contribution of $ 1,250 made on their behalf.

“We are extremely proud of the difference our associates make through their many humanitarian contributions. Our company is fully committed to providing exceptional service to the citizens and the communities in which we operate and to ensuring that our associates have the support they need to become the best possible corporate citizens, ”Smith summed up.