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    Big Y Reboards ‘Education Express’

    Program helps local schools

    Big Y Foods will bring back its “Education Express” program to help schools in its New England market area, effective Thursday, Oct. 4. Through the program, schools earn free school supplies, including new computers, software, books, math and science materials, and sports equipment.

    The last Education Express program, which ran from 2008 to 2010, enabled area schools to earn more than 8,120 art supplies, 2,720 books, 350 digital cameras, 25 interactive boards, 40 computers, 710 musical instruments, 109,650 pencils, among other items, according to Springfield, Mass.-based Big Y. Since the program started in 1993, the program has given more than $13 million worth of free teaching materials and classroom equipment to more than 2,000 schools in the communities the grocer serves.

    When Big Y shoppers buy participating products highlighted by a school bus logo on the shelf sign and present their Big Y Express Savings Club or Silver Savings Club card, they earn points for the school of their choice. Schools can then redeem these points for free educational supplies. The program is automatic: points accumulate for the designated school with no need to collect or save cash register receipts. Customers can track individual contributions online, and schools receive point updates weekly and redeem points at any time during the program.

    Points will accumulate from Oct. 4 through Jan. 1, 2014. Customers can sign up online on Big Y’s website or Facebook page, or in person by filling out a form at the customer service desk or checkout. As a special thank-you to shoppers for taking part in the program, during its first three months, every time a shopper earns 1,000 points for a school, they’ll receive one free Big Y gold coin under the grocer’s loyalty program.

    A unique feature of Education Express is its collaborative nature, which enables shoppers to team up with their local supermarket to support local public and private schools. During the programs five previous iterations, more than 1 million customers signed up.

    “Big Y has long been dedicated to the education of the children in the communities we serve,” noted Michele D’Amour, the company’s education partnership administrator. “The Education Express program enables us to harness the power of our community and our shoppers to provide our local schools with the tools necessary to help educate tomorrow’s leaders.”

    Family-owned and -operated Big Y, one of the largest independent supermarket chains in New England, employs more than 10,000 employees at 66 stores in Massachusetts and Connecticut. bigy.com

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