Safeway Launches National Campaign to Support People With Disabilities

Safeway, Inc. yesterday teamed up with Easter Seals and Special Olympics to launch its annual Support for People with Disabilities fundraising and awareness campaign at a kickoff event in Alameda, Calif.

“We are eager to start raising funds and awareness for people with disabilities,” said Safeway EVP and Safeway Foundation chair Larree Renda. “Easter Seals and Special Olympics are at the forefront of this important cause and have a well-established track record for providing services and inspiration on multiple levels for children and adults with a broad range of physical and intellectual disabilities.”

As the nation celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Safeway unveiled plans to raise funds during the month of April for a variety of critical regional rehabilitation services, autism programs and job-training grants. The fundraising will also support athletes participating in Special Olympics. Safeway additionally honored its nearly 10,000 employees with disabilities and urged other businesses to “tap this otherwise overlooked and underutilized talent pool.”

The company was joined at the launch event by a host of elected officials, sports legends and media personalities. U.S. Olympic gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi and NBA superstar Sam Perkins were in attendance, as well as Easter Seals CEO James E. Williams Jr., Special Olympics executive Tanya Baskin, 16th District Assemblyman Sandré Swanson, Alameda Mayor Beverly Johnson, sports anchor Joe Fonzi from KTVU-TV and talk show host Brian Murphy from KNBR Sports Radio.

“We are continually humbled by the level of commitment demonstrated by the 180,000 people in the Safeway family,” said Easter Seals’ Williams. “For decades, Easter Seals has relied on Safeway’s financial support, outreach and enthusiasm for providing job opportunities to people with disabilities. The company truly leads by example.”

Each year, Safeway dedicates the months of April and August to bringing awareness to helping people with disabilities by raising funds at the over 1,700 Safeway, Vons, Pavilions, Dominick’s, Carrs, Randalls, Tom Thumb and Genuardi’s stores in the United States and Canada. The company also uses in-store broadcasts and video messages to customers and employees to share information about breakthroughs in research and new programs that help millions of people with disabilities in the United States and around the world. To date, Safeway has raised and donated more than $131 million to support organizations such as Easter Seals, Special Olympics, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and Augie’s Quest.

“Special Olympics is dedicated to uniting communities nationwide as we continue to foster a movement of inclusion and acceptance for those with intellectual disabilities,” said Special Olympics chairman and CEO Timothy Shriver. “Our partnership with Safeway further demonstrates how local communities and businesses can unite to support the movement as we collectively work to show the deserved respect and dignity for those with intellectual disabilities.”

In 2009, Safeway donated more than $250 million to education, hunger relief, health and human services, and cancer research.

Pleasanton, Calif.-based Safeway operates 1,725 stores in the United States and western Canada and had annual sales of $40.8 billion in 2009.
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