Safeway employees clocked 1 million volunteer hours in 2011

PLEASANTON, Calif. — Safeway on Friday announced that employees volunteered more than 1 million hours in 2011 as a result of a companywide effort to mobilize its work force and transform communities.

"The number of hours, along with the stories about employees who unselfishly gave their valuable time, are inspiring and humbling," stated Larree Renda, Safeway EVP and chair of the Safeway Foundation. "Through their generosity, our employees are making a meaningful difference in the communities where they work and live."

While volunteerism has long been part of Safeway's culture, the company launched a more formal volunteer initiative in 2010, designed to build on efforts already under way and assist those employees who wanted to find the activities and organizations that best suited their interests and talents.

Employees from the company's retail, distribution, supply and administrative operations routinely participate in fundraisers, cleanup efforts and a broad range of other volunteer activities. Safeway employees are serving as Little League coaches, Scout Masters and food bank volunteers. Others organize neighborhood watch programs and coordinate school fundraisers. Safeway truck drivers have volunteered to transport food and supplies for disaster preparedness organizations. Company lawyers and tax specialists have provided legal assistance to nonprofits and prepared tax filings for senior citizens — all on their own time.

Safeway is a long-time sponsor of the Muscular Dystrophy Association and holds a companywide fundraiser for the organization annually. The campaign concludes with the MDA Labor Day Telethon, when scores of Safeway employees join other volunteers throughout the United States to staff phone banks and process donation pledges.

More recently, Safeway partnered with Rebuilding Together, the nation's leading nonprofit working to preserve affordable homeownership, to renovate homes and community centers during the month of April. On their own time, Safeway employees in 10 cities refurbished homes, senior centers and community centers, making them more accessible to people with disabilities and performing major and minor repairs.

Through its Volunteer Initiative, Safeway set out to aggregate these existing volunteer efforts and recognize those employees who volunteered a significant amount of their time to various causes. The company also sought to help employees who were looking for volunteer opportunities. Through a partnership with Volunteer Match, an organization that provides businesses with Web-based solutions to facilitate and track volunteer engagement at local and national levels, Safeway employees are able to find volunteer opportunities in their communities that meet their specific interests, talents and availability.

Starting in January 2011, Safeway employees logged each hour they volunteered and by the end of the year they logged their 1 millionth hour. Safeway employees have been challenged to meet or exceed that number by the end of 2012.

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