Loblaw banner stores make giving easy this holiday with the Extra Helping(TM) National Holiday Food Drive

Local Ontario stores raise awareness, funds and food to help those in need

BRAMPTON, ON, Nov. 25, 2011 /CNW/ - The holidays are a time for giving, and Loblaw Companies Limited's banner stores are making it easy for Canadians to support their local food bank with the Extra Helping™ National Holiday Food Drive. Collectively, Loblaw banner stores across Canada are aiming to raise $1.2 million and 1.2 million pounds of food in 2011. In addition, Loblaw also made a corporate donation of $250,000 to Food Banks Canada.

In Ontario, the following Loblaw banner stores are involved in the campaign: Loblaws®, Loblaw Great Food™, Fortinos®, Zehrs Markets®, Zehrs Great Food™, Your Independent Grocer®, valu-mart®, nofrills®, Real Canadian Superstore®, Real Canadian Wholesale Club®, and Extra Foods®.

According to Food Banks Canada's 2011 HungerCount, an estimated 900,000 Canadians relied on assistance from food banks to have enough to eat during an average month. This past year, 395,106 Ontarians accessed food banks each month. Of the individuals that were helped last year, 37.5% were children.

"We're seeing a consistent number of people who need our help to feed their families," says Bill Laidlaw, executive director, Ontario Association of Food Banks. "By donating non-perishable food items such as canned fruit or vegetables and whole-grain cereals, Ontario customers can make a big difference for local families this holiday season."

According to the Ontario Association of Food Banks, the most needed non-perishable items include: canned fish or meat, canned fruit or vegetables, hot and cold cereal, baby food and formula, beans and lentils, cans of stew or hearty soup, peanut butter and nuts, powdered or canned milk, dried pasta and tomato sauce, rice, whole-grain cereals, and wholesome fruit and vegetable juices.

Ontario shoppers can look for the Extra Helping™ logo featured on shelves in a variety of store 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. And in participating stores across Ontario, there is a new, easy way to make a difference. Customers can purchase a $5 box of PC® Blue Menu® macaroni and cheese with $1 being a cash donation and $4 worth of nutritious, non-perishable food (including the box of macaroni and cheese) going to their local food bank. Once they pay for it at check out, they simply drop it into their store's Extra Helping collection bin.

"We have a responsibility to help fight hunger across Canada," says Peggy Hornell, senior director, Community Investment, Loblaw Companies Limited. "We know how important it is to put food on the table not only during the holidays, but throughout the cold winter season. We encourage customers to help make a difference by making a food or cash donation to help feed someone in their community."

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 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 136,000 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 Laidlaw
Executive Director
Ontario Association of Food Banks
Telephone: (416) 656-4100
Email: bill@oafbc.ca



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