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    Big Y Reintroduces 'Education Express' Program

    This is the fifth incarnation of the initiative to help area schools since its inception in 1993.

    Big Y World Class Markets has relaunched its Big Y "Education Express" program. The regional chain's customers helped to distribute over 14,900 art supplies, 880 dictionaries, 150 computers, 690 musical instruments, and 49,700 pencils to local schools through the 2004-2006 Big Y Education Express program, the last time the initiative ran.

    The program, kicked off Oct. 2, helps schools earn free equipment and supplies such as new computers, software, books, math and science equipment, and sports equipment. Since its advent in 1993, the initiative has awarded more than $11.5 million worth of free teaching materials and classroom equipment to over 2,000 schools in Big Y's surrounding communities. With both Massachusetts and Connecticut schools currently facing budget cuts, Education Express represents an important supply resource.

    When Big Y customers buy featured money-saving products with their Big Y Express Savings Club card, they earn merchandise points for the school of their choice. Education Express items are designated throughout the store by shelf signs with a school bus logo. Schools can then redeem these points for free equipment and supplies. This program is completely automatic -- the points accumulate for a shopper's chosen school, with no need to collect or save cash register receipts.

    Customers can sign up for their school at any time. Customers can enroll online via the Big Y Web site, www.bigy.com or by completing a form at the Customer Service Desk in any Big Y World Class Market. Points can be assigned to any school in Big Y's market area -- the customer need not shop in the town where the school is located.

    A unique feature of Education Express is its collaborative nature, allowing shoppers to team up with their local supermarket in support of local public and private schools. During the four earlier iterations of the program, over 1.1 million customers joined with Big Y to make Education Express an unprecedented success.

    Big Y has over 9,800 employees in its 58 locations throughout central and western Massachusetts and Connecticut.

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