SACRAMENTO, Calif. -
California supermarkets contributed just over $318 million to a variety of charities in 2004, according to a new study commissioned by the California Grocers Association here -- making the industry one of the largest supporters at the state level of local charities, Peter Larkin, CGA chairman, told SN yesterday. "I've always believed that, but there's never been anything to document it -- it's all always been anecdotal," he explained. "So many contributions go to schools, scout troops, community events, hospitals and such at the local level, and they've never been aggregated in one place to prove how much supermarkets are a part of the fabric of life of the communities they serve." According to the survey, just under 60% of donations are monetary and just over 40% are in-kind. The study said the $318 million in 2004 donations included 11.3 million pounds of food products and 91,220 employee volunteer hours, with contributions going primarily for hunger relief and education but also for health, safety, human services and nutrition; community, environmental and religious organizations; and sporting, recreational and cultural events. The study was conducted by the Food Industry Management Program at the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business.