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    Safeway Launches 5th Annual Back to Schools Program

    Safeway Inc. this week kicked off its 5th Annual 10 percent Back to Schools program, a special in-store initiative that unites 100 food manufacturers in support of education and students throughout the U.S.

    Safeway Inc. this week kicked off its 5th Annual 10 percent Back to Schools program, a special in-store initiative that unites 100 food manufacturers in support of education and students throughout the U.S.

    “Since 2005, the 10 percent Back to Schools program has raised more than $11.3 million for schools and education programs in the various regions that Safeway operates,” said Mike Minasi, Safeway’s president of marketing. “What began with a relatively modest roster of 40 manufacturers and a few hundred items has evolved into a powerful storewide initiative with thousands of participating name brands.”

    Through the 10 percent Back to Schools program, which runs through September 15, 2009, Safeway is partnering with food manufacturers to donate 10 percent of the sale price of more than 2,000 selected products to local schools designated by customers. The initiative launches as many public school systems are facing unprecedented budget cuts. Some public schools are eliminating courses and increasing class size. Parents are often being asked to shoulder a greater share of the financial burden through fees and assessments for extracurricular programs that were previously free.

    The program provides customers with an opportunity to purchase eligible products using their Safeway Club Card. In doing so they will automatically accumulate donations and assign them to the school of their choice. The products will be marked with a special yellow school bus icon on store shelves. At the end of the program, customers will receive a final donation receipt totaling their “school dollars.” They can take or mail the receipt to their chosen school. The school then redeems it online.

    The 200 highest-earning schools will receive a $1,000 bonus to add to their overall donation. Schools and customers who already participate in Safeway’s eScrip rebate program will also benefit from 10 percent Back to Schools. Their final accumulated total will automatically be donated to their registered eScrip school or organization.

    Pleasanton, Calif.-based Safeway operates 1,739 stores in the United States and western Canada and had annual sales of $44.1 billion in 2008.

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