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Market Basket, Citizens Bank begin new campaign to fight hunger

It was much to do about nothing at the Bedford Harvest Market Tuesday, March 5, as the New Hampshire Food Bank, with help from the Citizens Bank Foundation, rolled out a new campaign to help halt hunger statewide.

Small, soup-sized cans of “nothing,” which are actually banks, will be sold for $5 in many grocery chains statewide, including Hannaford, Harvest Market, Jiffy Mart, Market Basket, Shaw’s and Stop & Shop locations, with the proceeds going to the NH Food Bank.

Special guest Gov. Maggie Hassan was on hand to help launch the program, buying the first can.

Hassan said the concept of nothing is a reality for many across the state, including 40,000 children.

“Too often, New Hampshire residents go to bed hungry,” Hassan said. “It is staggering that the NH Food Bank will serve as many as 143,000 residents who have trouble feeding themselves or their families.”

The program is designed to raise awareness and funding for the NH Food Bank, and the timing of the launch was no accident, said Executive Director Mel Gosselin.

“We had a great holiday season – it carried us into February,” she said. “But it’s a little tricky this time of year.”

Gosselin said once the holiday season passes, filling shelves becomes more difficult, especially during colder months.

“About 70 percent of the people we serve have to choose between heating and eating,” she said.

The campaign will run throughout the month of March, with television and public service ads and social media to spread the word.

Joe Carelli, president of Citizens Bank, said that hunger is a serious problem, but also a solvable one.

“If we all take action – whatever it is we are capable of – we will make a meaningful difference in the lives of thousands of New Hampshire residents,” he said.

Carelli said the Nothing cans hold about $25, and combined with the initial purchase of the can, the Food Bank can provide meals for about 60 people.

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