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Letter

Some background of food donations

To the editor:

On a recent visit to Ocean State Job Lot, I asked the front desk supervisor about the holiday donation program they are running for the local food pantries. The information about where exactly the donated dollars were going was a bit fuzzy, so I contacted the corporate office in Rhode Island. Here is the clarification about how their program works.

Ocean State asks customers for money at check out. Local food pantries (there are 3 in Peterborough) never get the money. The money collected from all Ocean States in New Hampshire is retained by the business, and the stores make an “in kind” donation of food products from their combined stores to the New Hampshire Food Bank in Manchester. This also allows them to take a tax write off.

During the year, Ocean State Job Lot stores are a frequent contributor to the New Hampshire Food Bank, who then supply food to local area pantries such as ours. This is a good thing. The New Hampshire Food Bank depends on partnerships with big box retail stores to provide inventory. So overall, Ocean State is helping in the fight to end hunger in New Hampshire.

I thought it was important to clarify this, as I get asked about their program frequently this time of year.

Christine Mann

President, Board Peterborough Human Services Fund

We at Ocean State Job Lot rely heavily on the good works of the New Hampshire Food Bank and it's 400+ partner pantries across the state to help distribute the 200,000 lbs of food we and our customers donate each year to New Hampshire families as part of our Three Square Meals Family Meal Assistance Program. To clarify how the program works: once a year our stores solicit donations to which the company contributes a specified cash match. Using the combined funds we leverage our buying power, expertise and connections to purchase food on the wholesale market. $1 in the hands of our buying team often yields 3-4X the food value in return. The food, in turn, is donated to accredited regional food banks for distribution to it's member agencies and food-based organizations. In addition to Job Lot's cash match the company also covers the cost of all associated program support services including warehousing, transportation and distribution. To receive a Three Square Meals food distribution in New Hampshire a local food pantry must be a member of The New Hampshire Food Bank. We've chosen to work with centralized organizations such as The New Hampshire Food Bank to ensure food handling, storage and distribution is conducted in accordance with NH State laws and best practices. As well, working with one central organization saves time and money thus ensuring the maximum amount of food reaches the tables of the needy as quickly as possible. As for the tax deductibility of the funds used to purchase the food; like all businesses and individuals Ocean State Job Lot receives a tax deduction for the funds it contributes to the program. The company does not receive tax consideration for funds donated by our customers. Nor has the company sought tax consideration (as is it's right to do) for the cost of services it incurs to run the program. Bottomline, our commitment to our customers is simple; 100% of donated funds will go to feed families in the locale from which the funds were donated. We absorb all costs to ensure every penny of every dollar our customers entrust to our care is used as intended. Have questions about Ocean State Job Lot's Three Square Meals Family Meal Assistance Program? We encourage you to call (401) 295-2672 (ext 1300). To find out if a local food pantry or food based organization in your area is a member of The New Hampshire Food Bank please call NHFB directly at (603) 669-9725.

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