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Safeway asks donors to support children’s fitness, nutrition programs

PLEASANTON, Calif. Safeway on Thursday announced a change to its eScrip fundraising program by asking schools and groups to allocate 20% of the more than $20 million in annual Safeway donations to fitness and nutrition activities.

"With fitness and nutrition programs being reduced or even eliminated in school districts across the country, Safeway recognizes the critical importance of helping to find and fund solutions," stated Larree Renda, Safeway EVP and president of Safeway Health. "The need for businesses to partner with their local schools is even more imperative today as our nation deals with the epidemic of childhood obesity and how the problem impacts the daily lives of students."

Safeway's successful eScrip program allows customers to earn money for the school of their choice by shopping with their Safeway Club Card. Beginning in August, Safeway has been encouraging its school partners to dedicate 20% of their Safeway donations to programs that focus on physical activity and good nutrition. Schools can allocate their funds to a broad range of programs and expenditures, including fitness activities, sports equipment, nutrition or health education and healthy food options on the school lunch menu.

"Our goals are to assist schools in bringing fitness and nutrition to the forefront, reverse the trend of childhood obesity and ensure that children have the important building blocks of good health — exercise and nutritious food," Renda said.

In addition to the fitness and nutrition change to the eScrip program, Safeway is offering an even greater incentive for school groups to participate and earn donations. The Top 5 schools in each Safeway eScrip market (40 total) that report monthly and dedicate the highest percentage of their funds to fitness and nutrition programs will be eligible for a $1,000 bonus. The $40,000 in bonus checks will be handed out July 2011.

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