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Local Loblaw corporate and participating franchise stores partner with local food banks across Ontario to raise awareness, funds and food to help those in need

BRAMPTON, ON, Nov. 25 /CNW/ - In a year when many families continue to struggle to put food on their table, Loblaw Companies Limited (Loblaw) corporate and participating franchise stores across Canada continue to partner with local food banks to raise awareness, funds and food to help those in need. Starting November 26 Loblaw retail stores and participating franchises in Ontario will launch the 2010 Extra Helping™ Holiday National Food Drive to support local food banks. Customers are encouraged to donate non-perishable food items or make a cash donation next time they visit their local Loblaw retail store and participating franchise location.  Loblaw's goal is to raise $1.35 million and 1.2 million pounds of food across Canada in 2010.

According to Loblaw partner Food Banks Canada's annual HungerCount, in 2010, more than 860,000 Canadians relied on assistance from food banks to have enough to eat during an average month, compared to 800,000 Canadians in 2009.  This past year, in Ontario, local food banks assisted 402,056 individuals an increase in 7.4 per cent compared to 2009.  Of the individuals that were helped last year, 149,163 were children, up 6 per cent compared to 2009.

"Our member food banks continue to see an increase of families accessing our services to help keep their families fed," says Ed Borkowski, executive director, Ontario Association of Food Banks. "Donations made during the holiday season go a long way in helping us support families in need during the holidays and beyond."

According to the Ontario Association of Food Banks, the most needed non-perishable items include: pasta products, rice, canned meat and fish, dry and canned soups and stews, canned fruit and vegetables, flour, breakfast cereal, peanut butter, canned/powdered milk, fruit juices, pasta sauce, beans and legumes, infant formula and baby food.

"Loblaw has a strong tradition of supporting the communities we serve. As Canada's largest grocery retailer, we have a responsibility to help in the fight against hunger and assist food banks in serving families in need," says Peggy Hornell, senior director, Community Investment, Loblaw Companies Limited. "As customers shop for their families this holiday season, we encourage them to consider picking up an extra item or to donate a few dollars at check-out to help provide food for someone in their community."

To assist food banks in receiving the resources they require to help those in need, one hundred per cent of food donations and 70 per cent of funds donated in Ontario through the 2010 Extra Helping™ Holiday National Food Drive, are donated to the local food bank partnered with the individual Loblaw retail store or franchise. The remaining 30 per cent of donated funds support provincial food bank programs to ensure food banks in areas where Loblaw does not have a store or franchise are still able to benefit from the food drive.

In some Loblaw stores and franchises across Ontario shoppers will see an Extra Helping™ logo featured on shelves in a variety of aisles, to help them quickly and easily identify the most needed items. The logo will also be featured on signs at store entrances, in-store displays, collection bins and at checkout to encourage cash donations.

This year at Zehrs® and Zehrs Great Food™ stores, customers can purchase specially-labeled cans valued at five or ten dollars.  Each can represents a number of the food bank's most needed food items as identified by the food bank and are listed on the can label.  This new approach makes it easy to donate as customers can now simply pick up the Extra Helping™ soup can, pay at checkout and drop it in the donation bin on their way out.  The variety of food that has been purchased with each Extra Helping™ soup can will be sent to the local food bank partner of each Zehrs® and Zehrs Great Food™ store.

In addition to collecting food and funds, earlier this year, Loblaw made a corporate donation of $250,000 to Food Banks Canada's National Food Sharing System, which works to acquire and share donated food and consumer packaged goods to support food banks across the country.  Donated food is transported to hubs managed by provincial food bank associations and in turn is distributed to local food banks to utilize for their food programs that assist hungry families and individuals in their communities.

Loblaw corporate and participating franchise stores taking part in the 2010 Extra Helping™ Holiday National Food Drive are: Loblaws®, Loblaw Great Food™, Fortinos®, Zehrs®, Zehrs Great Food™, Your Independent Grocer®, valu-mart®, nofrills® and Real Canadian Superstore®.

Loblaw is committed to being active in communities at the local, regional and national levels and the company views this as an integral component to the success of its business. One of Loblaw's commitments to Corporate Responsibility is to Make a Positive Difference in Communities.  The other Loblaw corporate social responsibility principles include Respect the Environment, Source with Integrity, Reflect our Nation's Diversity and Be a Great Place to Work.

About the Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB)

The Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB) is a network of 20 regional food banks and over 100 community food banks across the province from Windsor to Ottawa and Niagara Falls to Thunder Bay working towards a hunger-free Ontario.  It is our mission to provide food, funding, and solutions to reduce hunger in the province.  For more information about OAFB as well as hunger and poverty in Ontario, please visit www.oafb.ca.

About Loblaw Companies Limited

Loblaw Companies Limited, a subsidiary of George Weston Limited, is Canada's largest food distributor and a leading provider of drugstore, general merchandise and financial products and services. Loblaw is one of the largest private sector employers in Canada. With more than 1,000 corporate and franchised stores from coast to coast, Loblaw and its franchisees employ over 138,000 full-time and part-time employees. Through its portfolio of store formats, Loblaw is committed to providing Canadians with a wide, growing and successful range of products and services to meet the everyday household demands of Canadian consumers. Loblaw is known for the quality, innovation and value of its food offering. It offers Canada's strongest control (private) label program, including the President's Choice®, no name® and Joe Fresh Style® brands. In addition, the Company makes available to consumers President's Choice Financial® services and offers the PC® points loyalty program.

Loblaw Public Relations Department       Ed Borkowski
(905) 459-2500 or pr@loblaw.ca         Ontario Association of Food Banks
        Telephone: (416) 656-7931
        Email: ed@oafb.ca

(Source: CNW )
(Source: Quotemedia)


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