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Associated Grocers, C&S, Spartan Contribute to Tsunami Disaster Relief Effort

Amid a rising death toll from last month's Indian Ocean tsunami disaster that rose toward a quarter of a million this week, the U.S. supermarket industry continues to step up with much needed relief funds to bring relief to those stricken by the recent disaster.

Seattle-based Associated Grocers, Inc. has made a $25,000 cash contribution to the American Red Cross on behalf of AG's retail customers and employees.

AG has also challenged its vendors to make donations to the relief efforts, including nonperishable food and personal care items that can be shipped to the disaster areas. AG is working with aid organizations to ensure the right kinds of products reach those in need.

"We applaud the many contributions by our customers, vendors and employees towards assisting the victims and numerous relief operations. We are proud to be able to utilize our expertise in product procurement and distribution to assist in this humanitarian cause," said Bob Hermanns, president and c.e.o.

Keene, N.H.-based C&S Wholesale Grocers and its associates are doing their part by pledging $105,000 to date, contributing via cash, check and payroll deduction to the American Red Cross International Response Fund and the Oxfam America Asian Earthquake Fund. The company has committed a dollar-for-dollar match, and will transfer the funds as soon as possible to help address the immediate needs of the victims.

C&S c.e.o. Rick Cohen said: "C&S is making a difference -- even to people on the other side of the world. I'm proud of our team pulling together and donating so generously to help the tsunami victims. Our Associates company-wide have stepped up quickly and charitably just as we did after the 9/11 tragedy, when C&S was one of the first to have trucks onsite at Ground Zero with bottled water, Gatorade and Power Bars."

C&S, with annual sales of over $13.5 billion, is the 8th largest privately held company in the nation as ranked by Forbes magazine. Founded in 1918, the distributor services chains and independent stores from its distribution centers in Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, California and Hawaii.

Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Spartan Stores Inc. is also raising money to help victims of the tsunami disaster. The company, in conjunction with the Salvation Army, is collecting money at 150 stores throughout the state. Customers can donate through Jan. 31 by placing donations in containers at service counters.
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