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Safeway Inc. this weekend said it has raised $9.7 million to help fight muscular dystrophy in 2008, and publicly thanked its customers and employees for their fundraising efforts in a presentation made live on the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon.
"We are grateful for the generosity of our customers and the dedication of our employees," said Larree Renda, Safeway e.v.p. and chair of the Safeway Foundation. "Supporting those affected by neuromuscular disease is a key Safeway priority. This kind of significant fundraising gives us an opportunity to have an even more meaningful impact on a range of important research and treatment programs."
During a month-long campaign, Safeway's stores in the U.S. and Canada collected donations for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) and Muscular Dystrophy Canada (MDC) in an effort to assist people with neuromuscular disease, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
The company's U.S. retail stores also participated in the Aisles of Smiles program, which gives MDA a portion of the proceeds of specially marked products purchased by customers. The funds will be used to support projects focused on the causes and treatments of neuromuscular diseases at leading research centers.
Safeway said it has raised more than $41.7 million over the years for muscular dystrophy charities through customer donations at checkout and grassroots efforts, such as walks, golf tournaments, and bake sales. This year's campaign culminated over Labor Day Weekend when Safeway employees throughout the company participated in regional Jerry Lewis MDA telethon broadcasts to present donation checks and staff phone banks. Renda presented Safeway's final check to MDA National Chairman Jerry Lewis during the telethon's national broadcast.
Safeway is a major supporter of causes for people with disabilities, such as Easter Seals and Special Olympics. It also employs nearly 10,000 people with disabilities in stores throughout the United States and Canada through special job programs. In addition, Safeway supports a broad range of charitable and community programs and in 2007 donated more than $172 million, the equivalent of 20 percent of its net income, to causes such as education, cancer research, and hunger relief.
Safeway operates 1,743 stores in the U.S. and western Canada and had annual sales of $42 billion in 2007.