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Press release from CNW Group

Support The 2012 Extra Helping? Spring National Food Drive at your local Loblaw banner grocery store and help local communities fight hunger

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Support The 2012 Extra Helping? Spring National Food Drive at your local Loblaw banner grocery store and help local communities fight hunger06:59 EDT Thursday, April 19, 2012TORONTO, April 19, 2012 /CNW/ - Hunger is a year round reality for many families. Food banks across Canada are often in dire need to replenish their stocks during the Spring as the demands during the winter season has depleted their food supplies. To help, Loblaw Companies Limited (Loblaw) and its banner stores today kicked off its 2012 Extra Helping™ Spring National Food Drive to help combat hunger in their communities. Nationally, Loblaw's goal is to raise $1.2 million and 1.2 million pounds of food in 2012.In Ontario, starting April 20 to May 5, grocery shoppers are encouraged to purchase or bring in non-perishable food items or make a cash donation next time they visit their local Loblaws®, Loblaw great food®™, Fortinos®, Zehrs Markets®, Zehrs Great Food™, Independent - Your Independent Grocer®, valu-mart®, No Frills® and Real Canadian Superstore®. "While most people think about the joys of spring, it's a difficult time for us.  At this time of year our food supplies are getting lower while the need is still incredibly high and, in many areas, even growing," says Bill Laidlaw, Executive Director, Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB). "More and more people rely on food banks as they struggle to feed their families but with the help of programs like the Loblaw 2012 Extra Helping™ Spring National Food Drive, we will be able to stock our shelves year-round, and continue to serve families across Ontario that otherwise would go hungry."One hundred per cent of food donated, and 85 per cent of the cash donated, go to local Ontario food banks. The remaining 15 per cent of donated cash goes to the Ontario Association of Food Banks in support of provincial food bank programs.According to Food Banks Canada, 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, hot/cold cereals, whole grain cereals, peanut butter, aseptic packaged or canned/powdered milk, fruit juices, pasta sauce, beans and legumes, infant formula and baby food."The need for food and cash donations is as great this year as in previous seasons. As Canada's largest grocery retailer, we need to support the communities we serve with locally focused efforts like the Loblaw Extra Helping™ Spring National Food Drive," says Peggy Hornell, senior director, Community Investment, Loblaw Companies Limited. "We appreciate that our customers will be a large part of our success in meeting this year's goal."Loblaw corporate and participating franchise stores taking part in the 2012 Extra Helping™ Spring National Food Drive across the country are: Loblaws®, Loblaw great food®™, Fortinos®, Zehrs Markets®, Zehrs Great Food™, Independent - Your Independent Grocer®, valu-mart®, No Frills®, Extra Foods®, Dominion® (Newfoundland and Labrador), SaveEasy®, Provigo®, Maxi®, Maxi & Cie®, Wholesale Club™(West), Atlantic Superstore® and Real Canadian Superstore®. A second national food drive is scheduled for December 2012.Loblaw is committed to being active in communities at the local, regional and national levels where it operates, and the Company views this as an integral component to the success of its business. The Extra Helping™ Spring National Food Drive is one of Loblaw's corporate social responsibility principles to Make a Positive Difference in Our Community. The otherLoblaw corporate social responsibility principles include Respect the Environment, Source with Integrity, Reflect our Nation's Diversity and Be a Great Place to Work.About OAFB The Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB) is a network of 20 regional food banks and over 100 community food banks representing over 1,100 hunger relief programs across the province, from Windsor to Ottawa, and Niagara Falls to Thunder Bay, working towards a hunger-free Ontario. We nurture communities by providing food, funding, and solutions to reduce hunger in the province. For more information about the OAFB, as well as hunger and poverty in Ontario, please visit oafb.ca.About Loblaw Companies LimitedLoblaw Companies Limited, a subsidiary of George Weston Limited, is Canada's largest food retailer 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 more than 135,000 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 unique President's Choice®, no name® and Joe Fresh® brands. In addition, the Company makes available to consumers President's Choice Financial® services and offers the PC® points loyalty program.For further information: Loblaw Public Relations Department (905) 459-2500 or pr@loblaw.ca Bill Laidlaw Ontario Association of Food Banks (416) 656-4100 x 2931 or bill@oafb.ca