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Lori Raya, president of Vons, will accept the San Diego Food Bank’s Jacobs & Cushman second annual Eugene “Mitch” Mitchell Community Hero Award at its annual gala on Saturday, May 3, in recognition of Vons’ seven-year partnership with the agency.
The San Diego Food Bank will recognize Vons’ contributions through food donations, monetary support and volunteerism, which to date has generated 6,375,360 pounds of food since 2007 through direct food donations and public food drives. Vons has also donated $126,435 in monetary support since 2007, and the company’s employees have clocked in countless hours of volunteer time at the Food Bank’s 80,000-square-foot warehouse in the Miramar area of San Diego.
“Vons is an outstanding community partner who supported the Food Bank in our darkest hour during the Great Recession and continues to be one of our biggest supporters,” said James A. Floros, president and CEO of the San Diego Food Bank. "[We are] delighted that…Lori Raya will attend our gala and accept the Eugene 'Mitch' Mitchell Community Hero Award on behalf of Vons and its family of staff members, each of whom has played a significant role supporting our mission.”
An expected 400 guests will attend the San Diego Food Bank gala event, including leading business, military, civic, philanthropic and community leaders.
The annual Eugene “Mitch” Mitchell Community Hero Award recognizes an individual or organization for demonstrating outstanding support for the Food Bank. The award was established in 2013 in honor of former board chairman Eugene “Mitch” Mitchell for his dedication and tireless support for the hunger-relief nonprofit. Mitchell’s leadership saw the organization weather the worst recession since the Great Depression while increasing the number of people the nonprofit served by nearly 150,000 people per month. Mitchell served as chairman from 2006 to 2010 and currently serves on the Food Bank’s advisory board.
Vons has also hosted food drive campaigns at all 58 San Diego County locations since 2007, as well as sponsoring the “School’s Out, Hunger’s Not” summer food drive which raised 234,579 pounds of food for children and families in need last year alone. Further, over the holiday season, Vons supports the Food Bank’s annual Holiday Food Drive by hosting the Food Bank’s red food drive barrels at all 58 San Diego County locations from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31. Last year, the community raised 234,045 pounds of food for families in need.
Raya, who will accept the award on behalf of Vons, was named president of the Vons division of Safeway in January 2012 and is the first woman to hold the post in Vons’ 108-year history. A 26-year veteran of Safeway, Raya’s seasoned experience includes overseeing store operations in several of the company’s key operating divisions, including managing large marketing units that together represented nearly half of Safeway's business volume.