Loblaw springs into action with its Extra Helping(TM) Spring National Food

Loblaw corporate and franchise stores continue support for local food banks to help fight hunger across Canada

BRAMPTON, ON, March 18 /CNW/ - Today Loblaw Companies Limited (Loblaw) kicks off its Extra Helping Spring National Food Drive in its stores across the country. During this bi-annual food drive, Loblaw corporate and participating franchise stores are partnered with local food banks to help address hunger in their community. In 2009, customers helped to raise $1.2 million and 1.1 million pounds of food. This year, Loblaw hopes to raise $1.35 million and 1.2 million pounds of food.

The Loblaw Extra Helping Spring National Food Drive runs for three weeks beginning March 18 in Quebec; March 19 in Ontario and Atlantic Canada; and March 20 in Western Canada.

"As Canada's largest grocery retailer, Loblaw continues to build on its strong tradition of being active in the communities where we have stores to support the needs of the community where we can make a difference," says Peggy Hornell, Senior Director, Community Investment, Loblaw Companies Limited. "Adding a nutritious item in their grocery cart or a few dollars to their grocery bill at check out is an easy way for customers to support their neighbours and community."

Customers can make a difference in two ways: purchase or bring nutritious non-perishable food items and drop them into the donation bins in-store or make a cash donation at the checkout. To help encourage customers to donate, Loblaw corporate and participating franchise stores will feature its Extra Helping logo on signs at store entrances, in-store displays, collection bins and at checkout. In some stores, customers will also see the Extra Helping logo on shelves in a variety of food aisles to help them easily identify the most needed items.

Monies and food donated during the Extra Helping National Food Drive benefit Food Banks Canada's provincial members and local community food banks. One hundred per cent of food donations and 70 per cent of cash donations go to each store's local food bank, while 30 per cent of donated cash will support provincial programs benefiting food banks in that region.

"An estimated 800,000 Canadians - nearly 300,000 of them children - rely on a food bank in an average month," says Katharine Schmidt, Executive Director, Food Banks Canada. "As our reserves from holiday start to deplete, it is programs like the Loblaw Extra Helping National Food Drive that help fill the shelves while also raising awareness of the issue of hunger in Canada."

What should customers add to their shopping list? According to Food Banks Canada, the most needed non-perishable items include peanut butter or nuts, baby food, canned fruits and vegetables, canned fish or meat and beans. Other needed items include pasta and sauce, rice, whole grain cereals and aseptic packaged powdered or canned milk.

Loblaw and its franchise stores are 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. A commitment to make a positive difference in communities is one of five Loblaw corporate social responsibility pillars, which also includes respect the environment, source with integrity, reflect our nation's diversity and be a great place to work.

Loblaw corporate and franchise stores participating in the campaign operate under the following corporate and franchise banners: Loblaws, Loblaw Great Food, Fortinos, Zehrs, Zehrs Great Food, Your Independent Grocer, valu-mart, No Frills, Extra Foods, Dominion (Newfoundland and Labrador), Atlantic SaveEasy, Provigo, Maxi, Maxi & Cie, Loblaw Superstore, Atlantic Superstore, Real Canadian Superstore and Real Canadian Wholesale Club in Western Canada. A second national food drive is planned for December 2010.

About Food Banks Canada

Food Banks Canada is the national charitable organization representing the food bank community across Canada. Our members and their respective agencies serve approximately 85 per cent of people accessing emergency food programs nationwide. Our mission is to meet the short term need for food and find long-term solutions to reduce hunger. Please visit www.foodbankscanada.ca for more information.

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 unique President's Choice(R), no name(R) and Joe Fresh Style(R) brands. In addition, the Company makes available to consumers President's Choice Financial(R) services and offers the PC(R) points loyalty program.

SOURCE Loblaw Companies Limited

For further information: For further information: please contact pr@loblaw.ca, (905) 459-2500; or Melita Vega, Senior Consultant, Hill & Knowlton, (416) 413-4743, melita.vega@hillandknowlton.ca; Marzena Gersho, Director Partnerships and Programs, Food Banks Canada, (416) 203-9241 ext. 28, marzena@foodbankscanada.ca

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