Southwest Airlines Celebrates 35 Years of LUV By 'Spreading the LUV' to Hungry Families

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Airline celebrates 35th anniversary with a goal of contributing 35,000 jars of peanut butter to America's Second Harvest Food Banks across the country.

You can bet that Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) has served a lot of peanuts over the last 35 years. Now, in celebration of 35 years since its first flight in June 1971, Southwest is turning its focus to peanut butter -- with the goal of contributing 35,000 jars of peanut butter to Food Banks across the nation through America's Second Harvest -- The Nation's Food Bank Network. It's Southwest's way of saying thank you to Customers, Employees, and the 62 cities that have helped put the airline at the top of its industry.

Working with America's Second Harvest, Southwest has created a Virtual Food Bank on the main page of . Beginning today, Southwest's Spread the LUV campaign will give everyone the opportunity to visit the Virtual Food Bank and contribute jars of peanut butter. All contributions will be matched by Southwest, up to a total contribution from the airline of $35,000. (Click here to visit the Spread the LUV Virtual Food Bank at .) Spread the LUV and the Virtual Food Bank will run the entire month of June.

"Peanut butter, with its high protein content, has long been one of the staples most needed by food banks," said Colleen Barrett, President of Southwest Airlines. "It only makes sense that the airline that made the peanut famous would be the one that Spreads the LUV with peanut butter."

Southwest kicked off the campaign with an event at Dallas Love Field where they unveiled their larger-than-life commitment to the campaign -- a 737 featuring a special Spread the LUV design. (Visit for a photo of the aircraft.) The event also included hundreds of Southwest Employees celebrating the first jars of peanut butter being donated to the North Texas Food Bank in Southwest's hometown.

"The great thing about using the Virtual Food Bank on is that when people make a donation, their gift will go to the Food Bank in their local community," said Vicki Escarra, President and CEO of America's Second Harvest. "Southwest has already made the first donation right here in their hometown of Dallas."

The campaign comes at a perfect time to help Food Banks get ready for a busy summer. With children out of school for summer break, many at risk of hunger will not have access to school breakfast and lunch programs for balanced, nutritional meals. That's why Food Banks become a critically important community resource this time of year.

"Southwest is stepping up during the hungriest season of the year to make sure all hungry children feel LUV-ed," said North Texas Food Bank CEO Jan Pruitt.

In addition to the Virtual Food Bank at , Southwest Employees will pitch in throughout June, working with their local Food Banks in each of the 62 cities Southwest serves.

"Our Employees have always been passionate about giving back to their communities," Barrett said. "But the best part of Spread the LUV is that anyone can participate. Donate at , join in a local event organized by Southwest Employees, or just spread the word about how everyone can Spread the LUV."

Southwest Airlines has revolutionized air travel for 35 years by always offering affordable fares that give people tickets to Freedom. More than a quarter-century ago, surveys showed one in four Americans had flown. Since the inception of Southwest Airlines, more than three out of four people have experienced air travel. Southwest boards more than 80 million people annually, allowing them to go, see, and do things they may have never dreamed possible.


Public Relations of Southwest Airlines


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