Biz Roundup: Food Lion’s MVP Rewards rewards named best retail program of 2020

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 30, 2020

SALISBURY — Food Lion’s MVP Rewards customer loyalty program was named the Best U.S. Grocery Retail Program of 2020 by the Bond’s Loyalty Report.

More than 1,000 loyalty and credit card programs across 34 global markets were examined in the annual report, which is produced by Bond’s in a partnership with Visa. Food Lion’s program came out on top after almost 70,000 consumers were surveyed on more than 100 attributes of various programs.

Nourishing our communities is at the core of everything we do at Food Lion, and making it easier for our neighbors to affordably and reliably feed their families is what we’re all about,” Neil Norman, director of Customer Loyalty & Shopper Marketing, said in a news release. “This honor is a great testimony to our brand, our strategy, and our culture.”

Launched in February of 2018, Food Lion’s MVP Rewards allows shoppers to save money on various products while also earning monthly rewards on items they already buy. The program offers exclusive discounts and enables participants to track their savings.

A free MVP Rewards account can be created at or through the Food Lion app. To learn more about Bond’s Loyalty Report 2020 visit

Meals on Wheels North Carolina receives additional $500,000 in relief funding

RALEIGH — The State Employees’ Credit Union Foundation, a non-profit financial cooperative owned by its members, provided an additional $500,000 of disaster relief assistance to Meals on Wheels North Carolina. 

The grant will help the organization replace lost revenues due to the COVID-19 pandemic and support the need for food deliveries to more than 43,000 homebound senior adults through programs in all 100 of the state’s counties. SECU awarded Meals on Wheels North Carolina an initial $500,000 relief grant in April.

“Senior adults across the state continue to remain vulnerable to the consequences of COVID-19. Meals on Wheels programs statewide are experiencing increased requests for food and we support those programs in meeting their requests,” Alan Winstead, executive director of Meals on Wheels of Wake County, said in a news release. “Continued support from the SECU Foundation greatly impacts Meals on Wheels of North Carolina’s ability to help local programs provide nutritious meals and add new participants. We are very grateful for this substantial gift that benefits our senior neighbors across the state.”

The first grant from SECU helped Meals on Wheels reduce a meal delivery waiting list that was populated by 4,000 senior adults statewide by 63%. The second grant will help Meals on Wheels address the over 1,400 individuals that still remain on the waiting list.

Meals on Wheels Rowan has been providing food insecure seniors in the county with frozen meals during the pandemic to ensure proper nutrition while employing safe practices by only delivering once a week.

For more information on Meals on Wheels, go to

Blue Cross and Blue Shield to reduce average 2021 ACA rates for North Carolinians

DURHAM — For the third straight year, Blue Cross North Carolina will lower rates for Affordable Care Act plans offered to individuals.

“We’re pleased to make health insurance more affordable for North Carolinians who buy their own coverage from the individual market,” Tunde Sotunde, president and CEO of Blue Cross NC, said in a news release. “Our customers can continue to count on us as they navigate challenges during this pandemic and beyond. We will again offer ACA plans in all 100 North Carolina counties, as we have since the beginning of the ACA in 2014.”

The decision to decrease rates came after the COVID-19 pandemic caused many customers to defer non-urgent care from March to May. A large number of those customers have now resumed elective procedures, resulting in an increase in customers’ medical claims in June and July.

Blue Cross North Carolina plans to continue offering all current products for its individual customers under 65-years old in 2021. The company will continue to offer additional narrow network plans in certain markets to help keep costs as low as possible. This includes a new plan that could reduce health care costs in the Charlotte region by $20 million in 2021.

For more information, visit

Chamber of Commerce announces speaker for first Power in Partnership event

SALISBURY — The Rowan County Chamber of Commerce has announced that education speaker Stacey Gershkovich will present at the kick-off event for the Power in Partnership program on Sept. 17. The virtual program will begin at 7:30 a.m. and is sponsored by Global Contact Services.

Gershkovich, the managing director of sharing at the Robertson Center in New York, NY, started her education career as a first grade teacher in the Bronx. She then went on to serve in several positions at Success Academy Charter Schools. Gershkovich received her undergraduate degree from Emory University, her Master’s in Education from Pace University and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in teaching and learning with a focus in mathematics education at New York University.

The Power in Partnership program will begin on Sept. 17, 2020 and run through May 20, 2021. The program’s events will be held the third Thursday of the month from 7:30-8:30 a.m.

The rest of the 2020-21 Power in Partnership programs include:

  • Oct. 15 – Transportation Speaker: NCDOT Sec. Eric Boyette
  • Nov. 19 – Business Advocacy
  • Dec. 17 – Inspirational Speaker
  • Jan. 21 – Economic Outlook Speaker: Christopher Chung, CEO Economic Development Partnership of NC
  • Feb. 18 – State Legislative Breakfast 
  • March 18 – Salute to Agri-business
  • April 16 – Healthcare Speaker, sponsored by Novant Health Rowan Medical Center
  • May 20 – Leadership Speaker: Steve Chandler, Chandler Thinks

Individual reservations for the kick-off event are welcome, but the reservation deadline is Tuesday, Sept. 15 at 5 p.m. The cost is $15 for members and $25 for non-members. For more information on the event, call the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce at 704-633-4221 or email

VA Medical Center’s nursing home rated at a five-star level

SALISBURY — The Community Living Center at the W.G. Hefner VA Medical Center maintained a five-star rating for the second quarter of fiscal year 2020.

“Maintaining a five-star rating requires a lot of work and attention to detail,” Dr. Mark Heuser, associate chief of staff for Geriatrics and Extended Care, said in a news release. “The starting point is understanding that by providing the best care and documenting that care accurately will translate into excellent measures, which is reflected in the five-star rating system used for all long-term care facilities in the U.S., not just VA.”

The rating considers the facility’s registered nurse staffing levels, quality measures and a survey. Long Term Care Institute conducts the survey.

“They interview patients, family, staff, review policies, and perform chart reviews,” Lauren Crotts, chief nurse for Geriatrics and Extended Care, said in a news release. “It’s a complicated process. They look at the whole environment of care, how much like home it is, how institutionalized it is, does your staff know the veterans. The survey is so difficult because you never know what you’re going to get. It’s very complex. It’s all about the type of surveyors and what they are looking for.”

Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, the facility has maintained a high level of care. Since the beginning of the pandemic, only one resident of the 124-bed Community Living Center has tested positive for COVID-19 even though multiple employees have.

“That probably is a result of good techniques that the staff are using every day, not only their hand washing but in their use of personal protective equipment,” Heuser said in a news release. “It’s a real compliment to the staff.”

For more information on the Community Living Center, go to

Upcoming presentation seeks to help seniors navigate Medicare

SALISBURY — A virtual presentation hosted by Carolina Caring will help seniors determine how to best choose their Medicare plan. The presentation, titled “Navigating Medicare: What You Need to Know,” will feature Knowhow’s David Critchlow and will happen via Zoom on Wednesday, Sept. 16 at 10 a.m.

Critchlow helps older adults navigate the intricacies of Medicare, providing assistance as they transition from an employer-based health plan or as they switch the Medicare coverage they receive.

For more information or to register for the event, contact Stuart Madow at or call 704-775-3624.

Carolina Caring, founded in 1979, is an independent non-profit health care provider that serves 12 counties in western North Carolina and the Piedmont.

About Ben Stansell

Ben Stansell covers business, county government and more for the Salisbury Post. He joined the staff in August 2020 after graduating from the University of Alabama. Email him at

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