Donations are critical to help Saskatchewan food banks fight hunger

REGINA, SK, April 17, 2013 /CNW/ - (TSX: L) - While Spring means time of renewal for many, it also means dwindling resources at food banks. According to Food Banks Canada, every month more than 24,000 Saskatchewan residents - 47 per cent of them children - turn to a food bank for assistance.  Grocery shoppers are encouraged to help by donating food and/or funds to the Extra Helping™ Food Drive from April 19th to May 9th. hosted at their local Real Canadian Superstore®, Your Independent Grocer®, nofrills®, Extra Foods®, and Wholesale Club™ locations.

"Hunger is a constant reality for far too many families in Saskatchewan," says Bill Hall, executive director at Food Banks of Saskatchewan. "The Extra Helping™ Food Drive is essential in helping local food banks replenish their stock and address the issue of hunger in our communities. And, one hundred percent of the food raised in the community, stays with the local community food banks."

According to Food Banks Canada, most needed non-perishable food 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.

Food banks' most needed items are marked in select Loblaw banner stores with shelf tags featuring the Extra Helping™ logo, making it easy for customers to help locate them when shopping.

Loblaw Companies Limited and its banner stores hope to raise $1.8 million and 1.8 million pounds of food in 2013.

"As Canada's largest grocery retailer, we're committed to helping fight hunger in communities across the country," says Peggy Hornell, senior director, Community Investment, Loblaw Companies Limited. "We encourage all of our customers to make any amount of cash donation or non-perishable food items they can, so together we can make a real difference in the lives of those in need."

Loblaw grocery stores have a long history of supporting food banks in their local communities. In 2009, the Company rebranded its efforts under the Extra Helping™ Food Drive, a bi-annual, national campaign to reduce hunger. Since then Loblaw stores have raised more than $5.6 million and more than 6.3 million pounds of food. In addition, through annual corporate donations, Loblaw has contributed $1.125 million to date to Food Banks Canada in support of their National Food Sharing Program.

About Food Banks of Saskatchewan

Food Banks of Saskatchewan is the Saskatchewan provincial member of Food Banks Canada. It currently has 20 members throughout the province which serve the hungry in both urban and rural settings. Food Banks of Saskatchewan exists to provide both logistical and food support to its members, as well as advocating for all hungry people in Saskatchewan.

About Loblaw Companies Limited

Loblaw 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 134,000 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 Limited

For further information:

Loblaw Public Relations Department
(905) 459-2500 or pr@loblaw.ca  

Bill Hall
Executive Director
Food Banks of Saskatchewan
Telephone: 306-937-5505
Email: emptystocking@sasktel.net