Pleasanton Weekly

News - July 22, 2011

Safeway customers donate groceries for the needy

One-day drive helpful in summer for those relying on school lunch programs

by Jeb Bing

Customers at Pleasanton's Safeway supermarket purchased 72 bags of specially produced groceries Saturday as part of a one-day, Bay Area-wide effort to aid food banks that serve the needy.

The bags, priced below cost by Safeway at $10 each, contained tuna, peanut butter, cereal, canned vegetables, spaghetti, macaroni and cheese and instant mashed potatoes. Safeway launched the grocery bag offering to make donations easier for shoppers and to ensure that food bank recipients receive good quality items.

"Food banks depend on the community to ensure we're able to meet the needs of our neighbors facing hunger throughout the Bay Area," said Michael Altfest, communications manager for the Alameda County Community Food Bank. "We're grateful for this support."

"We see some of our greatest increase in need during the summer months when school is out of session and our clients struggle to provide three meals for their families each day," he added. "These donations will go a long way in making sure more families receive the nutritious food they deserve today."

Karl Schroeder, president of Safeway's Northern California Division, said Safeway contributes $175 million in food donations to food banks each year across the U.S. and partners with local organizations in the summer and fall by placing food collection barrels in stores.

"We are proud to be partnering with our area food banks and these important volunteer organizations on this community-wide collection effort," Schroeder said. "The statistics are alarming: one in five children are hungry in the summer."

Working with Safeway and Altfest's Alameda County food bank Saturday were Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, San Francisco Food Bank, Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano Counties, Napa Valley Food Bank and Redwood Empire Food Bank.

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