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Press release from CNW Group

Donations during the holiday season critical to help local food banks fight hunger

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Donations during the holiday season critical to help local food banks fight hunger12:17 EST Thursday, November 15, 20122012 Extra Helping™ Holiday Food Drive supports local food banks across OntarioTORONTO, Nov. 15, 2012 /CNW/ - While hunger is a year round reality for many families, the holidays can bring added pressure to ensure cupboards are not bare. Ontario food banks assist an average of 412,900 individuals each month, 40 per cent of whom are children. To respond to this need, Loblaw grocery stores are holding the Extra Helping™ Holiday Food Drive from November 23 to December 13, and are encouraging local residents to help by donating food or funds."This is an important time of year to reach out for donations, as the incredible generosity inspired by the holiday season can significantly help to stock our shelves," says Bill Laidlaw, Executive Director at the Ontario Association of Food Banks. "Adding just one item into the food donation bin at the local grocery store will help to fight hunger and feed local families in our community."To help, simply purchase or bring nutritious, non-perishable food items and drop them into the in-store Extra Helping™ donation bins, or make a cash donation at check-out.  To help customers quickly and easily identify the food bank's most needed items while they shop, Loblaw grocery stores will have the Extra Helping™ logo featured on shelves in a variety of aisles.In 2012, with the generosity and support of their customers, Loblaw grocery stores like Loblaws®, Zehrs Markets®, No Frills® and Real Canadian Superstore®have raised $627,000 in funds and 647,000 pounds of food for food banks across Canada and are hoping to raise a grand total of $1.2 million and 1.2 million pounds of food by year end.To make it even easier for customers to donate, participating Loblaw banner stores like Loblaws®, Zehrs Markets®, and Real Canadian Superstore®will sell a specially designed $5 PC® Blue Menu® Deluxe Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese Dinner.  When customers purchase the $5 box, they are donating 4 food items, and a $1 cash donation. Customers can donate knowing that their $5 will purchase healthy food items for Canadian families in need. All they need to do is pick up the box while grocery shopping, pay for it when they check out and drop it in the Extra Helping™ donation bin on their way out.Since 2008, Loblaw Companies Limited has made an annual corporate donation to Food Banks Canada to support their National Food Sharing Program. To date, donations total $1.125 million, including a $250,000 donation in 2012. And, while Loblaw grocery stores have always supported local food banks, since the launch of the twice annual approach of the Extra Helping™ Food Drive campaign, Loblaw grocery stores have raised over $4.2 million and over 4.6 million pounds of food to support local food banks between 2009 and year to date."We are committed to helping fight hunger in all communities across Canada," says Peggy Hornell, Senior Director, Community Investment, Loblaw Companies Limited. "If every customer can make even a small food or cash donation - a box of the Extra Helping™PC ®Blue Menu®Deluxe Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese Dinner, a can of soup, bag of pasta or container of baby formula - it will make a big difference for those in need."In Ontario, the most needed, non-perishable items include: peanut butter, baby formula & food, canned fish & meat, macaroni and cheese, cans of soup or stew, beans & lentils, canned fruits & vegetables, rice, and canned or powdered milk, according to the Ontario Association of Food Banks.Ontario 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™, Your Independent Grocer®, valu-mart®, No Frills® and Real Canadian Superstore®About Ontario Association of Food BanksThe Ontario Association of Food Banks is a network of 120 food banks and over 1,100 hunger relief programs and agencies across the province. Together, we serve 412,900 individuals, including 160,000 children, every month. We are committed to reducing hunger in Ontario through sustainable solutions that ensure the long-term health and success of communities across the province. To learn more, please visit: www.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.SOURCE: Loblaw Companies LimitedFor further information: Loblaw Public Relations Department   (905) 459-2500 or pr@loblaw.ca Bill Laidlaw Executive Director Ontario Association of Food Banks 416-656-4100, bill@oafb.ca Amanda King Associate Manager, Communications Ontario Association of Food Banks 416-656-4100 x2932, amanda@oafb.ca