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The Safeway Foundation is donating $2 million to community health programs and hospitals for grass-roots projects to prevent and treat childhood obesity. The “Innovative Approaches to Preventing Childhood Obesity” grants are a part of the Pleasanton, Calif.-based grocer’s overall public health initiative.
“Our commitment is to strengthen communities, create pioneering programs, expand services, and implement new strategies to support the health of children and teens,” noted Larree Renda, Safeway EVP and chair of the Safeway Foundation. “These funds will allow doctors, researchers and others in the medical and health care communities to launch effective new programs and evaluate the effectiveness of existing ones, with the goal of helping children live happier, healthier lives.”
The foundation’s partner in giving is Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland in northern California. Early this year, the grocer and the hospital invited organizations to apply for grants of up to $100,000 for grass-roots childhood obesity projects in the communities served by Safeway and its Vons, Pavilions, Tom Thumb, Randalls, Carrs and Dominick’s banners. Specifically, they aimed to promote collaborations between the medical community and local community-based agencies to encourage kids to be more physically active, improve food choices and create better access to healthy foods. More than 150 organizations applied for funding, among them cutting-edge programs at Children’s Hospital Foundation in Washington, D.C.; the University of Houston College of Education in Texas; Tri-City Health Center in Fremont, Calif.; and Cooper Institute in Dallas.
To date, Safeway and the Safeway Foundation have raised more than $180 million for breast cancer and prostate cancer research and treatment, as well as $133 million for organizations that conduct neuromuscular disease research, and offer medical services and outreach to people with disabilities. Additionally, the company’s health-and-wellness product offerings, along with its wellness programs for its own employees, have earned it widespread recognition and awards.
Safeway operates 1,666 stores in the United States and western Canada.