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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - With some help from Winn-Dixie, the chain's shoppers helped spread Christmas cheer as they did their normal grocery shopping during this holiday season. During a four-week period leading up to Christmas, Winn-Dixie customers donated more than $37,000 to help the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation provide toys to parents unable to afford gifts for their children.
Winn-Dixie jump-started the program with a $25,000 donation.
"Cash donations go a long way in helping us fill the gap between the toys we receive as donations and the toys that we have to purchase," said Major Bill Grein, USMC (Ret), vice president for Toys for Tots. "Our mission is to make sure every needy child receives a toy for Christmas. We couldn't do that without the tremendous help of corporate partners like Winn-Dixie and individual volunteers and donors."
During the four-week campaign, which began on November 29 and ran through Christmas Eve, customers at Winn-Dixie stores throughout the Southeast could designate an amount ranging from 50 cents to $50 to be added to their grocery bills at the time of checkout.
"This program gave our customers an easy and convenient way to donate while filling an important need for Toys for Tots," said Terry Derreberry, director of neighborhood marketing for Winn-Dixie. "We were thrilled to work with our customers and make an impact for so many children this holiday season."
The nationally recognized Toys for Tots campaign is a 59-year Marine tradition. Last year, the Marines distributed more than 18.4 million toys to more than 7.5 million children in 520 communities throughout the country.
Winn-Dixie, one of the nation's largest food retailers, has recently emerged from bankruptcy.