California's Independent Grocers Collecting Funds for Hurricane Relief

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California's independent grocers are providing an easy way for shoppers to donate to hurricane relief right at the checkout stand. Individual grocery stores, as well as the California Independent Grocers Association office, are actively collecting funds that will benefit the Red Cross Hurricane Relief Fund.

Mar-Val Foods in Lodi, California, is a leader in the drive to raise funds for hurricane Katrina victims.

"We've collected money for countries all over the world in the past, and we're even more motivated this time around to help support our fellow Americans in crisis," said Steve Rodacker, owner and operator of Mar-Val Food Stores.

Mar-Val Foods has dedicated a portion of their newspaper advertising space to promote their donation drive, and has placed colorful posters encouraging donations throughout their stores. Shoppers can designate any amount they would like to donate and have it added to their grocery bill. In small communities like Lodi without a Red Cross office, local stores like Mar-Val Foods play a key role by serving as the main collection point in town. Rodacker says his stores will continue the fundraiser as long as necessary to make a significant financial contribution. "Together, we can save lives," says Rodacker.

"Independent Grocers have to the ability to put together fundraisers quickly and with great personal passion and commitment," said Sharon Paxton, Executive Director of the California Independent Grocers Association. The CIGA office in Sacramento is serving as a collection point for its member stores and will forward all donations to the Red Cross Hurricane Relief Fund. CIGA members raised funds in a similar manner immediately following the tsunami in December, 2004, and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The Association's Board of Directors also contributed $10,000 to the American Red Cross in addition to the generous contributions from members stores after 9/11.

Headquartered in Sacramento, California, CIGA has continued to represent the Independent Retail Food Industry since 1905. Today, more than 1,200 independent grocers and supplier companies make up its members. CIGA's vision is to be the best possible association by promoting, supporting, educating, protecting, and fulfilling the needs of the independent grocer.

For more information, call Sharon Paxton at (916) 929-9741.

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