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Food Pantry Bags Whopping Donation

Customer service team leader Milton Chavez, left, and some of his team display the amount raised in cash and food donations for the Laguna Food Pantry by Whole Foods Market Laguna Beach.

Customer service team leader Milton Chavez, left, and some of his team display the amount raised in cash and food donations for the Laguna Food Pantry by Whole Foods Market Laguna Beach.

Laguna Beach’s Whole Foods Market raised $22,268 for the Laguna Food Pantry through the store’s November and December Feed4More register donation program. Generous Laguna Beach shoppers gave at the register for a total that beat out other, larger regional Whole Foods Market locations.

For its size, no other Whole Foods Market raised more, according to JoAnn Ekblad, marketing team leader for the Laguna Beach store. The Laguna store topped the market’s  49-store Southern Pacific region for “total donations as a percentage of overall store sales,” she said.

The store’s program provided $5, $10 and $25 breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals featuring Whole Foods products to families served by nonprofit recipients in its communities. Cash donations were also collected as part of the campaign.

“The donation total speaks volumes about the overwhelming generosity of the Laguna Beach community,” said Ekblad, adding that stores reflect the culture of employees rather than a corporate policy. “Our team members are part of Laguna Beach and are passionate about supporting the nonprofits that are important to our shoppers and neighbors. The Laguna Food Pantry was a natural choice for our Feed4More effort and we are pleased to make a significant contribution toward achieving our mutual goal: providing people with healthful, nutritious food.”

Throughout the campaign, Laguna Food Pantry volunteers picked up weekly donations to stock shelves at 20652 Laguna Canyon Road for the approximately 100 people who shop each day for their families. The $10,487 check will be used to purchase food in bulk from county food banks and help offset expenses.

The pantry is open from 8 to 10:30 a.m. Monday through Friday and is run entirely by volunteers, who help pick up, sort, and stock food. New volunteers are welcome: call 949 497-7121.

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