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Safeway Launches Campaign to Bring Opportunities to the Disabled

Safeway Inc. yesterday launched a month-long fundraising and awareness campaign, in partnership with Easter Seals and Special Olympics, to help thousands of people who live with disabilities.

The Pleasanton, Calif.-based grocer said it will raise millions of dollars this year to fund critical regional rehabilitation services and autism programs, provide job training grants, and adopt athletes so they can participate in Special Olympics games throughout the country.

"While we've designated the month of April to raise funds for Easter Seals and Special Olympics, we [have] year-round efforts to bring abilities back to the lives of the disabled," said Safewayís public and government affairs director, Cherie Myers. "Some of our most loyal and dependable employees are those with a disability."

This year the Safeway program will help fund community disability centers operated by Easter Seals in markets where the chain has stores. These facilities provide rehabilitation, training, and autism services. Easter Seals will devote some of the funds to provide job-training grants and expand autism programs.

In Canada, Safeway contributions will help Easter Seals develop a "Kids to Camp" program for thousands of children with disabilities. Additionally, Safeway will help fund the Special Olympics' mission to provide year-round sports training and competitive events to people with disabilities.

Safeway's Seattle Division established a goal of $880,000 for its 197 stores in Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska. According to Safeway, its Seattle Division has a proven track record for not only raising funds, but also for employing more than 1,000 people with special needs, setting an example for corporate social responsibility.

Safeway said it supports a broad range of charitable and community programs and in 2007 donated more than $172 million, the equivalent of 20 percent of its net income, to causes such as cancer research, education, food banks, and programs focused on assisting people with disabilities.

Safeway operates 1,743 stores in the United States and western Canada and had annual sales of $42 billion in 2007.

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