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    Save Mart Aims to Raise Up to $4.5 Million for Schools and Other Groups

    New "S.H.A.R.E.S." points fundraising program is open to a wide range of charitable organizations.

    Save Mart Supermarkets yesterday launched a new charitable giving program at its Save Mart, S-Mart Foods, Lucky, and FoodMaxx stores to boost funding for local schools and organizations.

    Called the "S.H.A.R.E.S." points program (for "Support Humanities, Arts, Recreation, Education, and Sports"), shoppers who register swipe their S.H.A.R.E.S. cards at the checkstand to earn 3 percent of the value of their qualified purchases for the organization of their choice. Save Mart expects the ongoing program to generate up to $4.5 million per year in funds for charitable organizations.

    "The current economic climate makes fundraising more challenging," said John Kelly, v.p. of marketing for Save Mart. "The S.H.A.R.E.S. program makes it possible for our customers to support their schools, churches, clubs, or organizations without feeling the pinch."

    According to Save Mart, nearly every school, church, club, or organization in its trading area is eligible to participate and may request a S.H.A.R.E.S. card for each member. Organizations may sign up online at Save Mart's banner Web sites or by calling a toll-free number.

    S.H.A.R.E.S. contributions will be paid out at the end of each calendar quarter. Save Mart and S-Mart Foods stores will contribute up to $2 million per year, or up to $500,000 per quarter, to the program; Lucky stores up to $2 million per year, or $500,000 per quarter; and FoodMaxx stores up to $500,000 per year, or $125,000 per quarter. If the aggregate earned benefits of the participants during each quarter exceed these limits, the donations will be prorated to reflect the points earned by each beneficiary group.

    The majority of customer purchases are eligible for S.H.A.R.E.S. points, except postage stamps, gift cards, Ticketmaster tickets and other event tickets, BART and other transportation tickets, money orders and MoneyGram money transfers, Lotto tickets, charity icon sales, gasoline, check-cashing fees, senior and liquor discounts, and sales tax.

    Save Mart operates about 250 stores throughout northern California and northern Nevada under the Save Mart, S-Mart Foods, Lucky, and FoodMaxx banners.

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