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The Stop & Shop/Giant Family Foundation has made a $1.5 million commitment to local food banks to support programs serving free meals and snacks to some of the 12 million children in America at risk of going hungry.
According to the Ahold USA divisions, the three-year commitment will bolster various organizations facing an increased demand for services, while donations decline.
The funds will be divided among over 17 local Feeding America food banks, including the Greater Boston Food Bank, Capital Area Food Bank, Maryland Food Bank and Connecticut Food Bank. The foundation granted the donations were awarded according to the number of families each organization serves, and the number of stores in the surrounding communities.
“Food nourishes the body and mind,” said Robin Michel, EVP and general manager for Landover, Md.-based Giant Food. “We value the communities we serve and pride ourselves on being able to make a commitment that will ensure that children receive the nourishment they need to live healthy, productive lives.”
Among the supermarket chains’ other anti-hunger initiatives are Stop & Shop’s “Food for Friends” and “Turkey Express” and Giant Food’s “Good Neighbor Food & Fund Drive.” These annual programs are expected to bring in over $1.3 million this year. Customers can also contribute nonperishable items at Giant Food stores between Nov. 6 and Dec. 31, 2009. Last year, the banner collected more than 200,000 pounds of food.
The $1.5 million donation will provide funding for the Kids Café, which provides free meals and snacks to low-income children through Boys & Girls Clubs, churches and public schools, along with educational, recreational and social activities in select locations, and the BackPack Program, which distributes backpacks containing nutritious, kid-friendly, nonperishable food to children on the last day of school before the weekend and/or holiday vacations. Stop & Shop’s first Kids Café location is slated to open later this month in Brockton, Mass.
“The need is great and grows every day,” noted Catherine D’Amato, president and CEO of the Greater Boston Food Bank. “These funds will allow us to continue to provide nutritious meals and snacks for children who would otherwise go hungry.”
Formed to support educational and recreational programs for children in the communities served by Stop & Shop and Giant Food, the Stop & Shop-Giant Family Foundation donated more than $750,000 in 2008-09 and committed $1.2 million from its fundraising efforts.
Quincy, Mass.-based Stop & Shop employs more than 59,000 associates and operates stores throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire, New York and New Jersey. Giant Food operates 181 supermarkets in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia, and employs approximately 22,000 associates. Included within the 181 stores are 164 full-service pharmacies.