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    Stop & Shop Kicks off Annual ‘Food for Friends’ Drive

    Area food banks will receive $1 million through the campaign.

    Stop & Shop has launched its 21st annual “Food for Friends” program in all 379 of the Ahold USA-owned chain’s stores. Running through Friday, Dec. 10, the program enables customers who donate $1, $3, or $5 at a Stop & Shop store to help support more than 300 local hunger relief organizations across the Northeast.

    Each year, the initiative raises about $1 million to feed needy families, with 100 percent of the funds raised going to regional food banks. This year, Stop & Shop will also match the first $500 raised by each store up to $190,000.

    “Food for Friends is a simple way for our customers to give back to their communities every time they shop,” explained Amy Murphy, director of marketing and external communications for Quincy, Mass.-based Stop & Shop. “Last year, together with our customers, we raised more than $1.4 million dollars for local and regional food banks through our Food for Friends program.”

    The campaign comes at a time when there are more food-insecure Americans than ever. According to a 2009 Feeding America report, 99 percent of all participating food banks reported a rise in demand for emergency food assistance, with 91 percent of food banks naming unemployment during the recent recession as a key reason for this increase over the past year.

    As well as in-store donations, this month Stop & Shop will deliver 20,000 turkeys -- around 280,000 pounds worth -- to local hunger relief organizations throughout the Northeast. Supported by the Stop & Shop Family Foundation, the program will give turkeys to families helped by such organizations as the Greater Boston Food Bank, Rhode Island Community Food Bank, the Community Food Bank of New Jersey and Long Island Cares.

    The Stop & Shop Supermarket Co. employs more than 59,000 associates and operates stores throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, New York, and New Jersey.
     

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