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    ShopRite Vending Machines Aid Autism Research

    Effort part of larger charitable program

    Five vending machines at the Ravitz family’s New Jersey ShopRite stores are helping the fight against autism, with more than $2,500 raised this year for Autism Speaks.

    Through a partnership between the Ravitz Family Foundation and Charity Changer, a branding and promotional concept created by Michael Dershem and Voorhees, N.J.-based MEDassurance LLC, all proceeds from purchases made through the machines go to local charities. Autism Speaks, the largest autism science and advocacy organization in the United States, was chosen as the first recipient of the Charity Changer program at ShopRite.

    “The help from our customers, employees, and vendors means so much to us, and even more to the millions of families affected by this disorder every day,” said Shawn Ravitz, treasurer of the Ravitz Family Foundation board of directors. “We’re hoping to continue taking steps toward changing the future for all who struggle with autism-spectrum disorders.”

    “In the wake of the devastation by Hurricane Sandy, Autism Speaks set up a response team to assist families affected by autism and provided emergency funds to help these families purchase lost essentials,” noted Autism Speaks volunteer Sheri Klein. “This is just one example of how this unique fundraising program is helping to make a difference in the south Jersey community.”

    Two of the vending machines have been installed at the ShopRite in Marlton, as well as the Ravitz family’s other four ShopRite stores in Cherry Hill, Moorestown and Mount Laurel. The Ravitz Family Foundation is seeking further opportunities to aid local charitable organizations, religious groups, schools and needy community members.

    ShopRite, a banner of Keasbey, N.J.-based Wakfern Food Corp., operates nearly 250 supermarkets in six northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states.

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