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PLEASANTON, Calif. -- Safeway Inc. has collected $3.5 million to help the survivors of the tsunami disaster.
The funds, which were raised during a companywide effort to help bring aid to the disaster survivors, will be donated to the disaster relief efforts of the Red Cross and the U.S. Fund for UNICEF -- two international organizations providing short-term and long-term assistance to people in the affected regions of South Asia and Eastern Africa. The funds were raised through customer and employee donations.
The relief agencies commended the company and donors for their quick response. Within two days of the disaster, Safeway stores were up and running with checkstand canisters and other store fundraising activities. "The generosity of our customers and employees never ceases to amaze us," said Safeway e.v.p. Larree Renda. "We are pleased and very proud that Safeway and our generous customers came to the aid of those affected by this horrific tragedy."
Renda is chairwoman of the Safeway Foundation, which will match all disaster relief donations of Safeway employees.
"The American Red Cross is incredibly grateful for the support of Safeway and its customers," said Skip Seitz, s.v.p. of Growth and Integrated Development for the American Red Cross. "Safeway's swift and massive response will enable the Red Cross to provide much-needed relief to the survivors of this terrible disaster."
Funds raised by Safeway stores in Canada will go the Canadian Red Cross' relief effort. Funds donated to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF have been earmarked specifically to help the 1.5 million tsunami-affected children, many of whom have been orphaned or separated from their families and are in critical need of basic care and support.
"We thank Safeway employees and customers for working together to raise funds for UNICEF's work in the South Asia tsunami-struck region," said Charles J. Lyons, president of U.S. Fund for UNICEF. "Safeway's leadership and support in this fundraising campaign will help us to continue to assist every child in getting the best start at rebuilding their life and a brighter future."
In addition to the in-store fundraising and matching contributions from the Safeway Foundation, some of the company's retail divisions participated in regional grassroots campaigns. For example, Safeway's Northern California division donated 10 tons of bottled water to "The Bay Area Tsunami Relief Train." Through this effort local businesses and riders of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system contributed toward sending the equivalent of a BART train car full of bottled water to tsunami survivors.