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Count your blessings

BY Rob Eder

I was born the day after Thanksgiving. My mom tells me I wanted out the second I smelled the food. This has always been a special time of year for me—it’s in my blood.

I have a lot to be thankful for these days. One-in-10 Americans are out of work, and many have been for more than a year. As I write this, people in Haiti’s tent cities are reluctant to take shelter from Hurricane Tomas for fear they might again lose everything; whatever they had left was in those tents.

In the Oct. 11 issue, I wrote about industry efforts to provide aid to Haiti and some blowhard at my gym who may have believed that charity began at home; he just wasn’t answering the door. The second I filed my column—literally—I registered for a volunteer group called New York Cares. A couple of weeks later, I did my first shift at the food pantry at my alma mater, St. Francis Xavier High School. We fed more than 700 people that morning. I plan to be a regular. I wonder if I can get my old locker back?

I have a lot to be thankful for these days for sure, including the people whose names appear on the masthead of this issue—even if I don’t get to them all here:

WB: You’re the first person I met here almost 15 years ago, and though we fight like cats and dogs sometimes, somewhere between here and Palm Springs on the road back from 9/11 you became like a brother to me.

JK: You’re like the older brother I never had. You had the confidence to put the ball in my hands and told me to pitch strikes. Most importantly, you taught me things about business and professionalism along the way that helped me find the plate.

TD: You keep me honest—and on time—every day.

AA: You’re like that little battery that just won’t quit; you were also my friend during the darkest chapter of my life.

MJ: “Tiny 10” got his nickname from his fellow volunteer firefighters; he’s the big guy with the little No. 10 on his helmet. Jokes aside, he’d walk through a fire for you.

SD: You’re the creative genius who makes our greasy words come to life. You’re also the one I want watching my back when trouble starts. They’re going to need a lot more guys to mess with us.

JF: At times I wonder what time zone you’re in, but I never question where your heart is. You walked me around cabana row during my first Annual Meeting—my third week on the job—and introduced me to half of the people in this industry…even if we didn’t eat lunch until 4 p.m. that day.

RG, AD, MV and AC: You do a lot of the hard work no one else sees; but I do. We’d be nowhere without you guys.

It’s a long list, and to be sure, there are many people I just can’t get to here. If anything, that’s the one thing I’m not too thankful about right now. But all things considered, I have a lot of reasons to be thankful these days. I love this time of year. Happy Thanksgiving.

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Stater Bros. kicks off Harvesting Hope campaign

BY Allison Cerra

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. A Southern California-based supermarket chain is assisting with hunger relief throughout November and December.

Stater Bros., in conjunction with its charitable arm, Stater Bros. Charities, will host its Harvesting Hope campaign. The retailer said it is collecting nonperishable food items for struggling families and accepting additional cash donations in all 167 Stater Bros. stores. The stores also are offering customers the opportunity to purchase $10 Harvesting Hope scannable donation cards.

Each year, Stater Bros. contributes more than $15 million to assist those in need, with an emphasis on worthy programs that benefit hunger relief, health and nutrition, education and animal shelters. Stater Bros. also annually donates more than 3 million lbs of food and products to the local food banks.

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Whoopee! American Greetings brings the laughs

BY Allison Cerra

CLEVELAND Jokers will be sure to embrace the latest laugh-out-loud card line from American Greetings.

The greeting card company announced its first-ever whoopee-cushion greeting card line, called "It’s a Gas!" Each card in the collection is an actual whoopee cushion that can be signed and sent in an accompanying envelope.

 

"Consumers often tell us that surprising friends and family with the greeting cards they choose is the best part of the experience, so we are always looking for ways to introduce unexpected ideas," said Mary McClain, creative director of new product concepts at American Greetings. "With ‘It’s a Gas!,’ we have a really fun format that is silly and unique and sure to put a big smile on anyone’s face, which is what we strive for in every card we create."

 

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