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Wegmans Food Markets ran two anti-hunger campaigns in 2007 and 2008 that raised a combined total of $1,741,817 in customer and employee donations, a 3 percent increase in contributions over last year's initiatives.
The "Check Out Hunger" and "Care About Hunger" campaigns allow customers to donate $1, $2, $3, or $5 at checkout, with all proceeds going to each store's local food bank, said the Rochester, N.Y. chain.
"For contributions to rise 3 percent in an economy where consumers are struggling to stretch every dollar is incredible," said Wegmans community relations manager Linda Lovejoy in a statement. "Our customers and employees seem to understand that the need for service from food banks is also greater than ever, and they've responded very generously."
The timing of the annual campaign varies by market area. Wegmans' 2007 fall campaign, held in New Jersey, Virginia, and some Eastern Pennsylvania stores, raised $438,474, while the rest of the grocer's locations ran a winter 2008 campaign, which ended Feb. 23 and raised $1,303,343.
Since the advent of Check Out Hunger and other, similar programs, in 1993, Wegmans has raised over $11 million for hunger relief.
Besides the dollar contributions, the retailer donated over 16 million pounds of food last year to local food banks.