Business Features

Whole Foods Puts Their Money Where Their Ice Is

Team members from the Bishops Corner Whole Foods Market take the ice bucket challenge for ALS. Screen shot from submitted video.

Staff from West Hartford’s two Whole Foods Markets get cold and wet, but the businesses also make significant donations to the ALS ice bucket challenge.

By Ronni Newton

The ice bucket challenge has become this summer’s viral cause, with new ice-dousing videos of kids, adults, professional sports teams, Hollywood stars, political figures, and many more showing up each day on Facebook news feeds, YouTube, and anywhere else video can be posted.

If you haven’t been challenged yet, it’s probably just a matter of time. [Editor’s note: I have taken the video for four different challenges, but have stayed dry!]

More importantly, the ice bucket challenge has resulted in an enormous and unprecedented spike in donations to the ALS Association, the non-profit which is dedicated to research and support of those with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. As of Monday, August 25, 2014, the ALS Association reported a staggering $79.7 million in donations over a four-week period. During the same four-week period in 2013, $2.5 million was donated.

Both the West Hartford Center and Bishop’s Corner Whole Foods Markets have gotten involved in the challenge in a big way, by joining those who have gotten cold and wet, by donating, and by challenging other Whole Foods Markets to continue the challenge.

Kristin Arslan, marketing team leader for the West Hartford Center Whole Foods Market, said that the company’s participation started with the Glastonbury store, which then challenged the two West Hartford stores as well as the regional leadership team.

“I gathered bakery team member Andrea Slifka, our Associate Store Team Leader Tim Kelley, our 2nd Associate Store Team Leader, Erin, and myself – we filled up our buckets, grabbed a bag of ice each and an iPhone. Erin, Our 2nd ASTL did the talking and we challenged WFM Hadley, WFM Garden City (Cranston, RI) and our team leader group. As we dumped the ice cold buckets over our heads – I also said we’d be donating $1 for every like on our Facebook page to ALS research and our nominees had 24 hours,” Arslan said in an email.

And although the goal of 1,000 Facebook Likes was not quite met, the West Hartford store was thrilled to receive 731 combined Likes for its videos, and donated $1,000 anyway to this effort which has made such an impact on those affected by ALS.

“This has been spreading like wildfire throughout our stores in our region and now throughout the United States AND our London store so it’s going to keep going! If every store does the challenge and donates $1000 – we could possibly donate up to 365,000+! Every time I open my email I see another 12 stores taking on the challenge and donating to ALS,” Arslan said.

Click on the links below to view some of the Whole Foods Market ice bucket challenge videos.

Whole Foods Market – West Hartford Center videos:

Store Leadership Video

West Hartford Team Leader and Associate Team Leader Group Video

Whole Foods Market Glastonbury – where it all started in Connecticut!

WFM Glastonbury Video

Whole Foods Market – Bishops Corner

WFM Bishop’s Corner Video

WFM Brie George – ASTL Video

Has your organization or business done the ice bucket challenge? Tell us in the comments, or send the details to [email protected]

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