Grocery store. When you hear those two familiar words your mind immediately begins to make associations: the smell of bread and cookies wafting from the bakery, the sight of freshly cut meats from the butcher on shelves ready for evening dinner, the beep beep beep of items passing over the scanner. However, when I hear the words “grocery store,” I make a few different correlations. I think of Trucchi’s Supermarkets. I think of particular people, of warm buttered popcorn, the sound of laughter, and a sense of community.
Over the last four years, Trucchi’s Supermarkets has become more than just my job—it has become my home and extended family. Having the pleasure of working with my own sisters, I have moved forward from one department to the next, meeting some truly wonderful people. However, my sisters and I had no idea the extent of Trucchi’s strong charitable actions and community outreach; it’s that outreach which makes Trucchi’s Supermarkets a truly unique company and an integral part of the community.
One of Trucchi’s unique qualities is that it is a small family-owned chain with locations in West Bridgewater, Abington, New Bedford, Middleboro, and two in Taunton. Focused with a strong commitment and dedication to each of the towns and cities they service, the employees at each Trucchi’s store know many of their patrons by name and willingly offer their services when any are in need of special assistance.
The grocery store becomes more than just the place where you buy food. It becomes your “hometown store” at the epicenter of all that’s happening around it; a place where you can find out about local events, programs, and charities and partake in them. Each store becomes a small thriving community extending itself into the towns where its customers reside.
At the forefront of the community service network is Ann Trucchi Condon. Beyond operations, the company’s charitable focus is supporting children’s initiatives and helping in the fight against hunger. When Ann speaks about the company, the employees, the customers, and the community, it is with such passion that it’s hard not to find yourself fully immersed and caring deeply about those things as well. She’s quick to point out she has always had support from her family—especially her dad, Jim Trucchi—to simply “try it,” and she relies on her co-workers to help get it done.
“Help Us Help Kids”
For two decades, Trucchi’s employees and customers have been brightening the holidays for local families through the “Help Us Help Kids” toy drive. Citizens for Citizens (CFC) of Taunton was the first organization Trucchi’s partnered with in 1997 at the suggestion of an employee, Noreen Skwarto, who had volunteered for Operation Christmas each year. Operation Christmas distributes toys to parents of children up to 12 years of age to be given as Christmas gifts. The agency also provides long-term solutions through diverse programs that seek to empower low-income individuals and families to overcome the burdens of poverty, by giving them the tools to achieve and maintain self-sufficiency. Trucchi’s began collecting new unwrapped toys at its two Taunton locations. That first year, during a normally hectic retail holiday season, warehouse foreman Jay Cleary found himself making daily toy deliveries to CFC between store food deliveries.
Trucchi’s realized that if they were resourceful, they had enormous potential to help those in need, and toy drives grew to include all locations. Community partnerships similar to CFC were established with organizations near each store. The program has expanded to also collect school supplies each August and coats in October.
Putting Food in the Pantry
The holiday season brings with it an overabundance of generosity and edible feasts. This spirit of giving fades into the background as we return to our daily routines. With alleviating hunger in mind, Jay found himself diverting the Trucchi’s box truck once again. In 2003, he began making monthly deliveries to Coyle & Cassidy High School. The school had transformed its foyer into a food pantry on the last Saturday of each month, and Trucchi’s soon became the food pantry’s secondary food supplier, with the Greater Boston Food Bank as its primary. Recognizing the difference involvement was making to the Coyle & Cassidy food pantry, year-round collection areas for donated items were set up.
During 2008 Michael Cote, director of the Coyle & Cassidy food pantry, was consistently seeing monthly increases of families relying on the food pantry. This prompted Trucchi’s to reach out to the food pantry partners that were recipients of the donated items in each store. All indicated they were experiencing a rise in families in need, and that was the signal that more help was necessary.
CAN Hunger! Begins
The “CAN Hunger!” program was established in February of 2009, allowing customers to purchase donation bags ranging from $5-$20. Hunger is year-round, and this collection continued throughout the year and is still in place today. The Coyle & Cassidy food pantry became the recipient of donations from the two Taunton stores; Abington partnered with Abington Food Pantry (AFP); the East and West Bridgewater food pantries received food from the West Bridgewater store, and the Solanus Casey food pantry became a beneficiary of the New Bedford site. In 2012, Trucchi’s joined forces with Al Cronin, then president of the Sacred Heart Food Pantry (SVP) making the pantry Trucchi’s “CAN Hunger!” partner with its Middleboro store.
I spoke to both Michael Cote and Al Cronin, and they spoke highly of the contributions that Trucchi’s programs make to them. Mr. Cote said “CAN Hunger!” donations have helped to save the food pantry approximately $10,000 a year in food purchases. “Trucchi’s partnership is a great example of community, unity, and concern for others,” expressed Cote. Al Cronin, director of client services at the Sacred Heart Food Pantry, also shared how Trucchi’s help has provided support for events benefiting the pantry, and how programs like these are servicing a large number of families in the community and making a difference for them. “There’s no more rewarding work than helping struggling and hungry families. The folks at Trucchi’s understand this and that’s why they partner with us on so many programs, all year long,” said Cronin.
I may not need to point out the obvious; Trucchi’s outreach is hyper-local, directly targeting each of the communities surrounding their stores. They’ve looked for programs and charities that work to assist and provide for their customers. Many of these have grown organically and in connection with one another. The goals of these organizations often overlap with those of Trucchi’s Supermarkets, which is why they work so well together. These groups are equally passionate about the people and communities they service, and that shared attribute allows the partnerships to flourish. Jessica Johnstone Darling, executive director of Girls Incorporated of Taunton, articulated it best: “We are very proud of our partnership and our shared commitments to health, wellness, and community. We are passionate about our mission to inspire all girls to be strong, smart, and bold. Our partnership with Trucchi’s Supermarkets has led to increased opportunities to educate girls about healthy eating, bullying awareness and prevention, and leadership. Trucchi’s Supermarkets has supported this mission and increased our ability to provide life-changing opportunities to girls in our community.”
Most recently, one of Trucchi’s projects involved partnerships with Reverend Christana Wille McKnight at the First Parish Church in Taunton and Veronica Palladino of Share Our Strength Cooking Matters program. Ann and Christana wanted to utilize space at the church for a cooking program and reached out to Veronica at Cooking Matters, an organization that helps low-income families learn how to stretch their budgets and make healthier meals. The three agreed that together this project would be a big step toward empowering families. Ann worked to promote and host a nutrition tour in the Tremont Trucchi’s and created and held a six-week free cooking class that was filled to maximum capacity. Veronica found that by working with a local grocery store a larger customer base could be reached, and they could build a “healthy, food-conscious, and food-confident community” together.
For someone to think that Trucchi’s Supermarket is just a grocery store would mean that they are missing everything that sets this company far apart from others. If they are unable to directly help customers themselves, they do their best to connect them with someone in their community who can help.
Trucchi’s Supermarket is creative, committed, and focused on the residents of the communities in which they live and operate. Trucchi’s strives to build strong relationships with its customers in order to go beyond the typical services a grocery store provides; by doing so they have become an important fixture in each community where they operate. Local people serving local people, simply giving back, is a way of life at Trucchi’s.
479 Washington Street
Raynham, MA 02767
Ashley Lonergan is an avid eater of food and a devourer of books. When she’s not writing, Ashley can be found snacking on an ice cream sundae or baking cookies with her younger brother and sister.
Trucchi’s Wheat Bar
A favorite treat from Trucchi’s bakery department, Wheat Bars are fabled to have been the brainchild of an unsung lunch lady in the kitchen of Taunton High School, some time back in the seventies. (We imagine her sternly facing down a massive delivery of government-surplus butter, sugar, flour, and rolled oats, heroically transforming the raw materials into a substance irresistible to adolescents.) The attachment Tauntonians develop to these bars early in life persists as a yearning that may only be satisfied in the post-lunchroom years by a trip to Trucchi’s.