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Online grocer Peapod is celebrating its 20th anniversary with an anti-hunger campaign to help less fortunate members of the communities it serves. In partnership with the Greater Chicago Food Depository, the Northern Illinois Food Bank, the Skokie, Ill.-based wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Ahold is enlisting Peapod shoppers and employees to contribute canned goods to the hungry, whose numbers have reportedly increased during the economic downturn.
“Our goal is to raise awareness of the growing numbers of families who are turning to food pantries to make ends meet,” says Andrew Parkinson, Peapod president and co-founder. “We’ve made more than 15 million food deliveries to over 22 markets over the last 20 years, so we’d like to honor our success by giving back and making a difference in our local communities.”
From now until Sept. 30, Peapod is matching contributions made by shoppers on Peapod.com to its partner food banks. By making a $5 donation, a shopper contributes 10 cans to the cause; Peapod then matches that gift with another 10 cans -- making the total donation 20 cans. The grocer is also matching the donations of canned goods made by Peapod employees, and has the goal of matching up to 10,000 cans contributed by Peapod shoppers and employees and of making a donation of 20,000 cans overall.
According to a December 2008 survey conducted by Feeding America, the Greater Chicago Food Depository realized a 32 percent increase in demand for emergency food assistance vs. a year ago, while the Northern Illinois Food Bank reported a12 percent increase in its pounds of distribution during that same time.
Hunger-relief efforts are a charitable focus for Peapod. Earlier this year, the grocer sponsored CANstruction, an exhibit of architectural structures built out of food cans. Hosted at the Merchandise Mart during the NeoCon contract furnishings show, the event generated 90,000 pounds of canned goods -- the largest single-day donation -- for the Chicago Food Depository. Peapod also makes weekly food pantry donations of gently dented or overstocked canned goods.
Founded in 1989, Peapod serves 22 US markets throughout Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey.