YONKERS, N.Y. -- A&P helped raise 2,500 pounds of private-label canned goods for the needy through a novel promotion with a local food bank and the Westchester County Fair here.
A&P shoppers who brought four cans of America's Choice brand private-label canned goods to the opening night of the fair at the Yonkers Raceway here received free admission.
"We're always looking to give customers additional value by doing things like this, and we like to help the community where we can," said Michael Rourke, senior vice president of communications and corporate affairs at Montvale, N.J.-based A&P.
More than 600 consumers took advantage of the offer, which was advertised on the back page of weekly circulars of the company's A&P, Waldbaum's and Food Emporium banner stores in the New York metropolitan area.
Christina Rohatynskyj, executive director of the Westchester County Food Bank Food PATCH (People Allied to Combat Hunger), said this is the third year A&P and the Westchester County Fair have teamed up to raise products and awareness for the Millwood, N.Y.-based food bank. Rohatynskyj said the effort has grown significantly since its first year, when about 1,000 pounds of food were collected. Last year's promotion collected about 2,000 pounds.
"We decided to use private label because everybody wins and everybody gets something out of this deal," she told SN.
Efforts like A&P's have been integral to the food bank's survival, Rohatynskyj said. While Westchester County is the corporate headquarters for many large firms, including Kraft Foods, aside from the Jack Frost sugar refinery here, very little food is actually manufactured in the county.
"We can only solicit in our trading area, so New York City can target manufacturers in the Bronx, but we can't, and so we are struggling here," she said.
"Westchester is considered a pretty wealthy and affluent county. Unfortunately, we have a lot of hungry people and almost no manufacturing facilities in our servicing area. Food drives like this one become very important. The focus really changes because we rely on the supermarkets so much to help us make up for the lack of local manufacturers," Rohatynskyj said.