RETAILERS INCREASING EFFORTS IN ANTI-HUNGER CAMPAIGN

NEW YORK -- Retailers are increasing their involvement in this year's Check-Out Hunger campaign to new levels as they hope to ring up a record $1 million for local food banks in this region.In the annual program, supermarkets place cards with $1, $2 and $5 donation slips at their checkout lanes during October and November. Consumers then hand their cashier a slip and the amount of the donation is

NEW YORK -- Retailers are increasing their involvement in this year's Check-Out Hunger campaign to new levels as they hope to ring up a record $1 million for local food banks in this region.

In the annual program, supermarkets place cards with $1, $2 and $5 donation slips at their checkout lanes during October and November. Consumers then hand their cashier a slip and the amount of the donation is scanned onto their bill. The funds are then turned over to the food banks.

Last year Check-Out Hunger raised $750,000 through approximately 1,500 supermarkets stretching from the Albany, N.Y., area down through Delaware, and an additional $135,000 from manufacturers. Participating retailers include the A&P family of stores, Pathmark, ShopRite, Twin County Grocers, Acme Markets, Grand Union and Kings Super Markets.

For the second year, the Check-Out Hunger campaign is being coordinated by Boerner Co., a food broker, Flushing, N.Y., which will distribute a freestanding insert filled with manufacturer coupons Oct. 15 in almost 4 million Sunday newspapers. Among the manufacturers participating in the Check-Out Hunger FSI are Coca-Cola Foods, Dole, Friendly's, Nestle, Sara Lee, Beatrice, Ore-Ida, Quaker Oats, Tyson, Borden and Georgia Pacific.

"This year the food banks are definitely shooting for the $1 million mark from consumers, which is reasonable," Bob Weinmann, Boerner's senior vice president of marketing services, told SN. "We'll have every supermarket operator that is based in the Metro New York region of New York and New Jersey participating."

Mary Ellen Gowin, vice president of public relations for Wakefern Food Corp., Elizabeth, N.J., a cooperative wholesaler with 170 ShopRite stores, said the industry is becoming more accustomed to the program.

"A lot of us have done more internal things than we've done in the past, like making our own associates aware of the program," she said.

In addition to the FSI, Weinmann said, Boerner will be building in-store displays with participating manufacturers to help drive sales. For the second year, Boerner will be using Actmedia, Norwalk, Conn., for shopping cart and radio advertising to further promote in-store awareness of Check-Out Hunger.

Donald Vaillancourt, corporate vice president of corporate communications and consumer affairs at Grand Union Co., Wayne, N.J., said last year his chain expanded its involvement to Albany and Binghamton in upstate New York.

"In the stores we do a lot to promote the program," he told SN. "We've used window signs, signs on the sides of the registers, signs on employee bulletin boards. We hold store meetings to tell people about it."