ATLANTA-AREA A&P UNITS AID VICTIMS OF FLORIDA TORNADOES

ATLANTA -- When tornadoes caused death and destruction through central Florida last month, A&P stores in this market organized a food drive to assist the homeless.The drive was done in conjunction with WSB, the local ABC television affiliate, which prominently featured reports on the drive during its news broadcasts. Consumers were asked to bring nonperishable canned and boxed food items, along with

ATLANTA -- When tornadoes caused death and destruction through central Florida last month, A&P stores in this market organized a food drive to assist the homeless.

The drive was done in conjunction with WSB, the local ABC television affiliate, which prominently featured reports on the drive during its news broadcasts. Consumers were asked to bring nonperishable canned and boxed food items, along with clothing, to their local A&P.

"The food drive went over very well," said Michael Rourke, senior vice president for communications and corporate affairs at A&P's corporate headquarters in Montvale, N.J. Among the items donated were bottled water, canned fruits and vegetables, dog and cat food, and boxed items like instant potatoes and cake mixes.

"We got all of the supplies down to the people in Florida as fast as we could," Rourke said, adding that A&P does not operate stores in Florida.

To build interest in the program, WSB's Channel 2 News broadcast live reports from the A&P store in Brookhaven during the evening newscast and showed dozens of shoppers dropping off supplies at bins that were placed near the cash registers.

One shot showed a 55-gallon drum overflowing with gallon bottles of America's Choice bottled water, while another showed a toddler depositing a can of vegetables into a bin.

"It is a situation that is hard to comprehend -- dozens of families losing everything. Here in Metro Atlanta people are donating all kinds of foods and other essentials at A&P stores. At the Brookhaven store one man gave enough to feed several families," the reporter said, noting that the man spent more than $300 on food for the drive.

The store manager of one Metro Atlanta A&P store contacted by SN said the drive had concluded on the evening of March 1.

"We had dry goods and some clothes donated. A lot of the grocery items were purchased at the store and people would drop them off on the way out," the manager said.