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    Meijer Doubles Down on Donations

    Retailer’s hunger relief efforts in September also include food rescue expansion

    Superstore retailer Meijer Inc. will double match every customer’s $10 Simply Give donation made Sept. 2 to 8 in support of Hunger Action Month.

    The Simply Give Week double match is part of a $1 million donation to Meijer’s 2012 Simply Give program, which aims to replenish the shelves of nearly 200 food pantries in its five-state region each campaign.

    Hunger is a problem that continues to grow in all of our communities,” Co-Chairman Hank Meijer said. “This contribution shows our commitment to hunger relief in the Midwest and applauds the continued generosity our customers and team members have shown their neighbors.”

    The Simply Give program encourages customers to purchase $10 Meijer Food Pantry Donation Cards, which are then converted into Meijer gift cards and given to the local food pantry selected by the store.

    Throughout Simply Give Week, each customer’s donation will stretch even farther: For every $10 donation card purchase, Meijer will give $20 to the program, resulting in a total $30 donation.

    Traditionally, Meijer seeds each Simply Give campaign with $100,000 in grocery gift cards that are divided among all the participating food pantries. This year’s $1 million donation alone equates to 6 million meals, and will bring the program’s total contributions to more than $4 million – or an estimated 24 million meals – since it debuted in November 2008.

    The Simply Give program runs three times a year for about 10 weeks; the fall 2012 campaign runs through Oct. 6.

    Also in September, Meijer plans to once again expand its food rescue program with the addition of eight food banks in the Midwest. Participating food banks and pantries pick up fresh food – meat, cheese and select deli and bakery items – from their local Meijer store two to three days per week. An estimated 2,400 products are available to donate to food banks. Nearly 700,000 pounds of food, which accounts for more than 527,700 meals, were donated by Meijer in 2011 to local food banks.

    The food rescue initiative helps increase the total tonnage of food delivered to local food banks while utilizing products that would not have been available in the past. Meijer began its food rescue program in 2008 with food banks picking up fresh food from 29 Meijer stores in southeast Michigan. It has since grown with an estimated 80 percent of Meijer stores partnering with a food bank on food rescue, and will continue to expand companywide next year, said Janet Emerson, Meijer executive VP of operations.

    “Meijer is proud to partner with these local pantries and food banks as they work to feed the hungry in their communities,” Emerson said. “Not only are we helping with hunger relief, our program provides healthy choices to a greater number of people who rely on food banks for their meals.”

    Meijer donates more than 6 percent of its net profits to charity every year.

    Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Meijer operates 199 supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky.

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