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PLEASANTON, Calif. -- Safeway Inc. is launching a month-long education and fundraising campaign to help increase awareness of prostate cancer, the importance of receiving regular screenings, and the need to fund research to help find a cure.
"Prostate cancer has a 90 percent cure rate," said Safeway chairman, president, and c.e.o. Steve Burd. "Screenings, early detection and education can save lives. During the month of June we hope to make a difference by not only encouraging screenings, but by raising funds to help find a cure for this disease."
According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, one in six men in the United States are affected by prostate cancer. More than 218,000 men in the U.S. will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year and more than 27,000 men will die from the disease. With early screenings and early detection, prostate cancer has a nearly 90 percent cure rate.
Safeway and all its stores throughout the United States and Canada have pledged to raise $6.5 million in June as part of the campaign, which will reach millions of customers through public service messages that will appear in radio, print and in-store advertising.
To help Safeway meet the fundraising goal, customers will be able to make donations at the checkstand. For the second year, recording artist Jeff Austin Black is lending his support by offering a special three-song CD sampler for customers who donate at the company's stores.
In addition, Safeway stores and employees will conduct their own special fundraising events. Over the last seven years, Safeway, its customers and employees have raised nearly $18 million during the annual Prostate Cancer Awareness month fundraisers. With this year's fundraising goal, Safeway's total support for prostate cancer research will reach nearly $25 million, according to the retailer.
This marks the seventh consecutive year that Safeway has worked to raise awareness and funds for prostate cancer research. The company has teamed up with the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF), a philanthropic supporter of prostate cancer research, to distribute the funds raised to cancer research projects at North American hospitals and cancer centers.
The funds raised are donated directly to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, which provides grants to teaching hospitals and cancer centers doing leading-edge research. In 2006 PCF made grants in Safeway's name to comprehensive cancer centers in the company's operating areas, including the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, the University of California at San Francisco, and the University of California at Los Angeles. This year funds raised will be distributed through grants in the name of Safeway by the Prostate Cancer Foundation to research institutions throughout the United States.
In other news, Safeway said it is recognizing today's National Hunger Awareness Day by launching food drives and fundraisers in several major cities as part of its ongoing commitment to hunger relief programs.
"As a food retailer, hunger is an important focus and a natural fit for our community outreach," said Larree Renda, Safeway e.v.p., chief strategist and administrative officer, and chairwoman of The Safeway Foundation. "As the need increases, Safeway is even more committed to supporting the food banks and agencies at the forefront of the fight against hunger."
Safeway's summer of hunger relief campaign begins in the nation's capital where the Washington D.C. City Council receives a special delivery from Safeway and the local food bank. The Capital Area Food Bank will deliver National Hunger Awareness Day box lunches provided by Safeway with information about hunger in the D.C. area.
County council members in Virginia and Maryland will also receive the hunger awareness lunches from the Capital Area Food Bank. Simultaneously, Delaware state elected officials will receive Safeway lunches and literature delivered by the Food Bank of Delaware as a way to raise awareness about hunger issues. Both food banks receive ongoing donations of food from Safeway stores and food distribution centers on the East Coast.
On the West Coast, two major Safeway-sponsored events promise to bring significant donations to regional food banks and feeding programs. In Portland, Safeway is sponsoring a music festival for hunger relief, called the Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival benefiting the Oregon Food Bank.
This year the festival begins on July 4th, spans five days and features 150 performances from celebrated artists, including The Neville Brothers, Koko Taylor, Joan Armatrading, and The Blind Boys of Alabama. Event attendees are asked to contribute non-perishable food as part of the cover charge. This year the food bank hopes to raise $600,000 and collect 110,000 pounds of food.
In 2006 total contributions by Safeway and The Safeway Foundation exceeded $154 million in cash and product donations. The retailer's giving is focused on four major areas: education, hunger relief, people with disabilities, and health and human services.
Safeway operates 1,755 stores in the United States and Canada and had annual sales of $40.2 billion in 2006.