One More Reason To Love Trader Joe’s: The Sequel

Last week, we gave a shout-out to Trader Joe’s for the very selfish reason that a study shows the store’s presence in a town increases property values.

Today we salute the fun, funky and reasonably priced market for doing good for folks who may not have homes.

Alert “06880” reader Jo Ann Davidson — okay, very alert — noticed something the other day in the little hall near the bathrooms. (You didn’t know Trader Joe’s had bathrooms? They do — and they’re spacious, clean and nicely decorated. But I never spotted what Jo Ann saw.)

A sign nearby notes — proudly, but without bragging — that Trader Joe’s recycles about-to-expire (yet still quite edible) food.

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As the photo above explains, every store in the chain partners with “reliable and trustworthy” non-profits to pick up nearly expired food. (Flowers too!) Last week alone, Trader Joe’s donated nearly $12,000 worth of food.

But wait! There’s more!

They also collect winter items like coats, hats and gloves in a nearby box.

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What great ideas! Thanks, Trader Joe’s (and Jo Ann).

Just imagine how much they’d collect though, if they moved the collection box away from the who-knew-they-were-there bathrooms?

Like, say, over by the spot where they hand out (fantastic) free samples every day.

13 responses to “One More Reason To Love Trader Joe’s: The Sequel

  1. Marcy Anson Fralick -- Staples Class of 1970

    I wonder if property values are affected when there’s only one TJ’s in the town, and it’s a small town. Here in Tucson, we have four and our property values keep tanking. Same in Colorado Springs. They have a TJ’s (maybe two) and their property values haven’t appreciated. I think it has to be a small town, one only TJ’s, making it unique, that affects property values…

    Donating food, flowers and other items to the homeless shelters and food kitchens is a nationwide program that all TJ’s do. We’ve been experiencing below freezing temperatures during the nights and only 40’s during the day, and their efforts have made a big difference to the homeless in Tucson. Our other local groceries donate their food, as well, which is a big help, and their flowers and plants go to nursing homes, hospitals, assisted care facilities and hospice locations.

  2. Grant Pollard

    I love Trader Joes as a consumer and I also volunteer for a local non-profit called Community Plates. I have to say out of all the food donors I have come into contact with that both the Westport and Darien Stores are the largest donators that help local charities feed people in need and are great to work with!


  3. Armelle Daniels

    Fantastic to know, i never noticed the sign… thanks for letting us know Dan!

  4. Everyone up here wants to see a Trader Joe’s – somewhere between Mystic, CT and Westerly RI. It’s one of the few things I miss from Westport.

  5. I love, love, love Trader Joe’s!

  6. Community Plates does regular pick ups at Trader Joe’s all over Fairfield County. Trader Joe’s has been an amazing partner, donating fresh produce as well as meat and dairy. This really helps improve the variety of food that the pantries can provide to their clients.

    Community Plates relies entirely on volunteers to transfer the food to the local shelters and pantries. If you’d like to get involved, find our more at our website

  7. Joyce Barnhart

    Good eye, Jo Ann.
    And isn’t Trader Joe’s owned by a company in Germany? They either have a good heart or listen to employees who do.

    • Trader Joe’s was founded by Joe Coulombe and has been owned since 1979 by a German family trust established by Aldi Nord’s owner Theo Albrecht. The chain has offices in Monrovia, California, and Boston, Massachusetts.

  8. Panera Bread also donates their excess inventory. They have been a regular contributor to Saugatuck Congregational Church’s Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts in years past. Not only does it make the meals better, but there’s generally enough for people to take delicious food home.

    I applaud companies that make their excess inventory available to others, whether it be food, furniture, clothing or anything else that others can use.

  9. Nancy Hunter Wilson

    Your high-end shopping stories always crack me up (especially this odd cause and effect real estate theory)!
    Why is the food bank bin hidden? Even the most humble of Safeways place bins at the entrances/exits. Or, would that be an eyesore?
    Stores/restaurants donating food is not, and should never be, a novelty.

    • You did not read the post carefully. It is not a food BIN, where customers are asked to donate purchased items (presumably items bought in the store – helping the less fortunate while increasing the bottom line!), it is a NOTICE about how much the company is donating.

      • Nancy Hunter Wilson

        Sorry! I read now that it is a clothing collection box. But still wondering if there is a non-perishable food bank bin at the entrance to augment the store’s donations (as customers, themselves, of any food store find it so satisfying to contribute to food bank bins).

  10. Jeffrey Wieser

    Homes with Hope’s Gillespie Center has been a longtime and grateful recipient of food from Trader Joe’s, and the coordination now through our impressive, local food rescue operation, Community Plates, is a wonderful partnership. Thanks to all !!!