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Safeway Earns Easter Seals' All-Time Top Corporate Partner Designation

First Company to Surpass $100 Million Contribution Mark to Support Families Living with Autism and Other Disabilities

CHICAGO, May 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Safeway (NYSE: SWY) captures Easter Seals highest honor after raising a record $10.2 million for the organizations' services for children and adults with autism and other disabilities in 2009 alone and by exceeding the $100 million milestone for lifetime contributions. The national nonprofit recently designated Safeway its "All-Time Top Corporate Partner" during an awards ceremony recognizing Easter Seals' entire family of corporate partners.

This past April, for the fourth year, Safeway stores in the U.S. and Canada raised funds for people with disabilities, inviting customers to support Easter Seals services for children and adults with autism and other disabilities at checkout. The campaign coincided with Autism Awareness Month and Easter Seals' efforts to raise awareness about the services and treatments the organization provides to families living with autism.

In just one month, Safeway raised $8,824,141 through the April in-store fundraiser. Safeway employees also raised an additional $1.4 million through local market events, golf tournaments, galas and fundraisers -- bringing the company's 2009 grand total for Easter Seals services to $10.2 million.

Safeway's Impact on Families Living with Autism and Other Disabilities

"Ten million dollars can literally change the lives of thousands -- and it does," says James E. Williams, Jr., president and chief executive officer, Easter Seals. "Safeway's commitment to Easter Seals and the millions of families we serve runs far beyond the annual fundraising campaign -- it's business. Today, the company employs more than 10,000 adults with disabilities, giving many a career and a means to live independently."

This year, funds raised will support a variety of Easter Seals services across the country for families living with autism including:

  • In California, job training and employment opportunities, pre-school and after-school services, independent living options that keep people in their own homes instead of institutions, services that help adults learn daily living and social skills that most of us take for granted, and early and intensive intervention for toddlers recently diagnosed with autism.
  • In Colorado, a series of family camp retreats and respite programs for families living with autism to relax and play together and formalized assistance for families when their children with autism transition in and out of school -- an incredibly challenging time especially for young adults with autism trying to enter the workforce and live independently.
  • In Texas, scholarships for critical therapy services for those families that are unable to afford the cost of high-quality physical, occupational, and speech-language therapies and programs to help adults obtain and maintain employment through careful job placement, job coaching and long-term follow up and support.
  • In Arizona, supports for assistive technology and early intervention programs through state-of-the art equipment and augmentative communication devices for individuals with disabilities to use at home, school or work before making an often costly purchase and speech, occupational, and physical therapy as well as a unique feeding program for infants and toddlers.
  • In Illinois, Easter Seals new Therapeutic School and Center for Autism Research, specifically the Vocational Training and Work Center, and the Research Node Connection Lab that focuses on preparing children with autism for life after school and future employment.
  • In Washington, D.C., respite programs, autism training for therapists, assistive technology and inclusive early childhood education.

"Since 1986, Safeway and its family of grocery stores have worked to raise funds and bring attention to Easter Seals' critical mission," says Larree Renda, Safeway Executive Vice President and Chair of the Safeway Foundation. "Most important, is the message that people with autism and other disabilities are valuable members of the workforce -- even in these tough economic times. Too many businesses don't take the risk in hiring people with disabilities. At Safeway we've embraced it, and have had great success."

"The need for services is greater than ever -- from therapy for young children or families living with autism to supports for older adults and military service members and veterans," adds Williams. "We are appreciative and honored that Safeway and its thousands of employees are committed to helping us make a significant difference."

About Safeway

Safeway Inc. is a Fortune 50 company and one of the largest food and drug retailers in North America. The company operates 1,739 stores in the United States and Canada and had annual sales of $44.1 billion in 2008. The company's common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol SWY.

About Easter Seals

Easter Seals is the leading non-profit provider of services for individuals with autism, developmental disabilities, physical disabilities and other special needs. For nearly 90 years, we have been offering help and hope to children and adults living with disabilities, and to the families who love them. Through therapy, training, education and support services, Easter Seals creates life-changing solutions so that people with disabilities can live, learn, work and play. Visit to learn more about autism, find services at an Easter Seals near you, or change the lives of people living with disabilities by becoming a donor or volunteer.

SOURCE Easter Seals
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