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    Supermarkets Partner with Produce Industry to Support Children's Hospitals

    TAMPA, Fla. -- Meijer, Publix Super Markets, Tops Markets, Giant Foods - Carlisle, Schnuck Markets, Kroger's Southwest Division, and Harris Teeter make up the all-star retail cast participating this year in Produce for Kids, a campaign that promotes produce consumption while raising money for Children's Miracle Network-affiliated hospitals. The promotion, which begins in May, will run through early July and encompass more than 1,750 stores nationwide.

    TAMPA, Fla. -- Meijer, Publix Super Markets, Tops Markets, Giant Foods - Carlisle, Schnuck Markets, Kroger's Southwest Division, and Harris Teeter make up the all-star retail cast participating this year in Produce for Kids, a campaign that promotes produce consumption while raising money for Children's Miracle Network-affiliated hospitals. The promotion, which begins in May, will run through early July and encompass more than 1,750 stores nationwide.

    "Our customers and the communities we serve really responded to the Produce for Kids campaign last year, and we were able to raise significant donations for our local hospitals," said John Zimmerman, director of community and customer relations for Meijer. "We've added a new educational component with the Healthy Kids Day event, and I fully expect to have another successful campaign in 2005."

    During the promotion, Produce for Kids' sponsors will make a donation to Children's Miracle Network for selected produce shipped to retail partners, with all funds directly benefiting Children's Miracle Network-affiliated hospitals in areas where retailers have stores. Sponsors and products include Shuman Produce's REALSWEET brand Vidalia Onions; Del Monte Gold Extra Sweet Pineapples in whole and fresh cut forms; Santa Sweets Grape Tomatoes; Fresh Express Packaged Salads: Stemilt Growers' Apples and Cherries; T. Marzetti Salad Dressings; Dole Fresh-Cut Salads; Tropicana Fresh Orange Juice products; Ripe 'n Ready Tree Fruit; Country Fresh Cut Fruit; Green Giant Brand Red Potatoes; Driscoll Raspberries; and Chiquita Fresh-Cut Fruit.

    In select markets, retailers will sponsor a "Healthy Kids Day" event designed to educate young people on healthy eating and the benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Nutritionists, celebrities, and other representatives of the supported children's hospital will take part.

    Produce for Kids is an integrated marketing campaign that includes point-of-sale materials with posters, recipe brochures, shelf cards, and shelf tags; advertising; public relations with in-store media events; sweepstakes drawing and Internet marketing with the Web site, www.produceforkids.org.

    The campaign was created in 2002, when Reidsville, Ga.-based Shuman Produce approached Children's Miracle Network about developing a fundraising program to benefit children that would involve the entire produce department. Since then, the program has grown to include seven retail grocery chains supporting children's hospitals in 22 states.

    Children's Miracle Network represents 170 children's hospitals providing state-of-the-art, lifesaving care 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Each year, Children's Miracle Network Hospitals treat 17 million children for every disease and condition imaginable, including cancer, pediatric AIDS, muscular dystrophy, sickle cell anemia, birth defects, asthma and accidental injuries.

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