DAYVILLE, Conn., March 21, 2007 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) has formed a joint-venture partnership with Vitamin Angels to assure that chewable multi-vitamins and anti-parasitic medicines will get into the mouths of 55,000 Dominican Republic school-aged children between the ages of 2 and 10 years old. The Batey Relief Alliance, through their regional branch, BRA Dominica, will monitor the distribution to those children who are undernourished, malnourished or deprived of micro nutrients.
United Natural Foods is pleased to have had the opportunity to partner with Vitamin Angels, a non-profit, non-sectarian organization created in 1994 to fight malnutrition and childhood blindness around the world, and recently participated in the initial distributions. Company representatives Rick Antonelli, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President, and Margaret Loew, Vice President of Special Projects, traveled with Howard Schiffer, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Vitamin Angels, into the Bateyes of the Dominican Republic to assist with the initial distributions. A Batey is defined as home to former sugar cane workers displaced when the industry was privatized and are characterized by substandard living conditions. In each Batey, a volunteer health promoter will assist in the distribution and monitoring of the program which will be on-going with the assistance of the BRA.
"We admire the charitable work of Vitamin Angels, and are delighted to be able to participate. It was an incredibly eye opening experience traveling to the Bateyes and seeing first hand the difference we can make in these children's quality of life. Each and every one of them deserves the chance at a long and healthy life and we are grateful for the opportunity to provide assistance," Mr. Antonelli noted.
"Seeing children in poor living conditions, without access to potable water is heartbreaking and only reinforces how important this program is to the future of the next generation. Every little bit can make a difference and children's multiple vitamins can help the children from the early stages of life," Ms. Loew added.
Mr. Antonelli concluded, "It is United Natural Food's vision that our supplier and customer partners will see the value that Vitamin Angels brings to the planet and join us in supporting their efforts. A single $1.00 donation will prevent four children from going blind due to Vitamin A deficiency for twelve months. It's that simple."
About Vitamin Angels
Vitamin Angels, ( www.VitaminAngels.org) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization providing vital nutrition to children and families in need since 1994. Vitamin Angels responds to the most pressing health concerns identified by the communities requesting its assistance. Nutritional products are contributed by an ever-enlarging association of Vitamin Angels -- a consortium of nutritional supplement manufacturers, distributors and retailers. These goods are then donated to charitable health care facilities and programs located in countries across the globe, including the United States. Last year Vitamin Angels donated over 100 million supplements to people in need in 42 countries around the world. To learn more, visit www.VitaminAngels.org.
About United Natural Foods
United Natural Foods, Inc. carries and distributes more than 40,000 products to more than 18,000 customers nationwide. The Company serves a wide variety of retail formats including conventional supermarket chains, natural product superstores, independent retail operators and the food service channel. United Natural Foods, Inc. was ranked by Forbes in 2005 as one of the "Best Managed Companies in America," ranked by Fortune in 2006 and 2007 as one of its "Most Admired Companies," and ranked by Business Ethics as one of its "100 Best Corporate Citizens for 2006." For more information on United Natural Foods, Inc., visit the Company's website at www.unfi.com.