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Customers and employees at the 22 stores in Wegmans Food Markets’ hometown of Rochester, N.Y., and its surrounding area, which includes the towns of Newark, Geneva, Canandaigua, Brockport and Geneseo, dug deep in their pockets to battle hunger during the grocer’s recent 2010 “Check Out Hunger” campaign.
The five-week program, which ended Nov. 27, raised $688,214, an 11 percent increase over the amount raised by Wegmans’ 2009 autumn campaign. Especially meaningful to the company was the fact that many customers “continue to give, even during times of economic uncertainty,” as Wegmans community relations manager Linda Lovejoy put it.
Check Out Hunger enables customers to donate $2, $3, $5 or any other amount at checkout, with all proceeds from the Rochester campaign going to Foodlink. A new wrinkle this year at Wegmans was to allow customers to “round off” their purchase to the next $1. “That new feature alone amounted to over $40,000 in donations,” noted Lovejoy.
Active in providing funds and food (16 million pounds of it annually) to area food banks, food pantries and soup kitchens across all of its market areas since the late 70s, Wegmans has raised over $16 million for hunger relief since 1993, when programs such as Check Out Hunger began.
“Food for the needy is one of our most important giving priorities, and campaigns like Check Out Hunger allow us to help hundreds of agencies that are served by regional food banks,” explained Lovejoy.
Family-owned Wegmans operates 77 stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, and Maryland.