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    Fresh & Easy Raises $670,000 for Schools

    Company's Earth Day wine campaign launched to plant trees based on sales.

    EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market recently announced 967 schools in California, Nevada and Arizona raised more than $670,000 through its second Shop for Schools program.

    The program allowed participating, registered schools to receive a $1 cash donation for every $20 spent at a local Fresh & Easy store from Sept. 15 through Dec. 31, 2009, the company stated. Eligible public and private kindergarten through eighth grade schools were located within a three-mile radius of a Fresh & Easy store.

    The schools can use the money they raised for their highest priority need, according to the retailer. In total, 171 schools in Arizona, 643 in California and 154 in Nevada participated in the program.

    "At a time when school districts across the state are faced with difficult budget choices, it is important for companies like Fresh & Easy to step in and help," California Secretary of Education Bonnie Reiss said in a statement. "We are ecstatic that Fresh & Easy is contributing more than $450,000 to California schools as part of their Shop for Schools program this year."

    The first Shop for Schools program was launched last year in response to local schools' need for additional funding. Through that pilot, schools raised more than $130,000.

    This year, Fresh & Easy increased the duration of the program and added fundraising events called Shopping Nights for Schools, when during designated evenings from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., 5 percent of a store's sales were donated to a participating school, according to Fresh & Easy.

    "We received fantastic feedback from our pilot program and wanted to bring the program back in an even bigger and better way to help schools raise even more money," Roberto Munoz, Fresh & Easy's director of neighborhood affairs, said in a statement. "Schools continue to struggle for funding right now and we are proud we can be part of the solution and give back to our neighbors."

    The retailer plans to bring the program back again later this year.

    In other Fresh & Easy news, the company is running a wine promotion where for each bottle of award-winning ONEHOPE Sauvignon Blanc Wine purchased at Fresh & Easy, American Forests, a Washington-based nonprofit organization dedicated to environmental restoration, will plant a tree in areas devastated by wildfires, according to a report by Progressive Grocer, sister publication to Convenience Store News.

    "At Fresh & Easy, we try to reduce our impact on the environment in everything we do, so it just makes sense to keep that in mind when it comes to the wine we offer," said Karen Fletcher, wine category manager at El Segundo, Calif.-based Fresh & Easy. "We partnered with ONEHOPE so we can provide our customers with a high-quality, affordable wine that also helps make our neighborhoods a little greener."

    Fresh & Easy launched ONEHOPE Sauvignon Blanc blend last Earth Day with Sonoma Wine Co., using sustainable wine-growing practices. Last year, American Forests planted more than 3,200 new trees as a result of customer purchases, according to the report. The Graton, Calif.-based winery is a member of the Sonoma County Green Business Program and the Wine Institute's Sustainable Winegrowing Program.

    Fresh & Easy's ONEHOPE Sauvignon Blanc was developed to offer a crisp, dry white taste, with flavors of passionfruit and guava. The medium-bodied, smooth varietal pairs well with pasta. Last year, it won a Silver Medal at the 2008 Long Beach Grand Cru International Wine Competition. The wine retails for $9.99 per 750-milliliter bottle.

    Fresh & Easy currently operates 146 stores in California, Arizona and Nevada.

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