Mitchell Cochran, store manager of Food City's south Cleveland location, has been honored with the company's Claude P. Varney Humanitarian Award. 

Food City’s retail supermarket chain annually recognizes outstanding volunteerism among their associates.  The program was named in memory of Food City’s beloved former president and board vice-chairman of 47 years.  Varney was well-known for his tremendous compassion and humanitarian services.  Each year, committees are established to review associate volunteer activities and select individual award recipients based on outstanding achievement in the areas of health, education, environment, cultural arts, recreational, heritage/history and public service.  One winner is selected from each Food City location.  The field is then narrowed to twelve district level winners, followed by two divisional winners and finally the recipient of the highly esteemed Claude P. Varney Humanitarian Award. 

Cochran has been employed with the company for 42 years.  He is a long-time volunteer for a number of organizations, including Cleveland YMCA, where he  currently serves on the Board of Directors, assisting with Family Night promotions for local children and their parents, serving refreshments, providing games and sporting activities and hosting their annual Healthy Kid’s Day competition.  He also serves as co-chair of the YMCA’s Community Support Campaign, helping with fundraising efforts for after school programs. 

Cochran was named YMCA Volunteer of the Year for the entire Metropolitan Chattanooga area in 2008.  He also supports Junior Achievement, working with children in the Cleveland and Athens area and assisting with and emceeing their two annual bowling tournaments. 

He is a long-time volunteer with the Cleveland Fire Fighters - helping with fundraising activities, Christmas banquet and annual boot drive and was awarded the Distinguished Achievement Award from International Association of Fire Fighters in 2001, 2006 and 2008, Bradley County/Cleveland City Schools - assisting with field trips, reading nights, career days and reality life checks, local churches – working with their Certified Disaster Relief teams, food banks and fundraising projects, Share your Christmas Food Drive – assisting with local food bank collections, Bradley/Polk County Foster Care Association – helping with their Angel Tree program and annual children’s Christmas party.

He has also been active in Cleveland City Schools – participating in career day events, Tennessee State National Guard – assisting troops preparing for deployment, providing food for weekend functions and participating in job fairs, Life Bridges of Tennessee – providing Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners for area residents and delivering food to local school events, Bradley County Home Health – participating in Health Day events, Relay for Life – assisting with fundraising efforts, Habitat for Humanity – helped build the 50th Habitat home and provided food for the dedication ceremony, Cleveland Police Department – assisting with annual Night Out Against Crime and First Responders – assisting with local tornado relief efforts.

“Volunteering gives me an opportunity to give back and support the community that so generously supports our store, it’s a partnership that works for the betterment of our community in so many ways,” says Cochran.