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Charter One teams with Widespread Panic to collect food and donations for the Greater Chicago Food Depository

Concert attendees can help fight hunger at the Charter One Pavilion in celebration of Hunger Action Month

CHICAGO     (August 24, 2009) - Charter One announced today that it is partnering with Widespread Panic to collect non-perishable food and monetary donations at the band’s upcoming performances with The Allman Brothers Band at the Charter One Pavilion at Northerly Island on Sept. 1 and 2. This food drive, part of the bank’s summer-long Making Music Matter program benefiting the Greater Chicago Food Depository, will help kick off Hunger Action Month, a national campaign to motivate local action to end hunger.

“Widespread Panic and its fans have a long-standing tradition of participation in hunger relief efforts, and we’re thrilled to partner with the band here in Chicago as part of our summer-long Making Music Matter initiative supporting the Greater Chicago Food Depository,” said Stacey R. Sather, Senior Vice President and Director of Public Affairs at Charter One. “We’re asking concert attendees to join Charter One in our efforts by bringing non-perishable food items or cash donations to these special performances.”

Concert attendees who wish to contribute should visit the Charter One tent just inside the main gates of the Charter One Pavilion where they will have the opportunity to make their donation and partake in fun activities. Food donations will be weighed by Food Depository volunteers and the heaviest donation, by 7:30 p.m. each night, will win exclusive merchandise provided by Widespread Panic – including a limited-edition tour poster signed by all six band members and a copy of “Huntsville 1996,” an acclaimed and much sought-after recording. Cash contributions will also be accepted and donors will spin the Charter One prize wheel, which features iPods, iTunes gift cards, free concessions and a variety of other merchandise.

Non-perishable food collected will help the Food Depository’s overall distribution efforts, while cash donations will benefit the Food Depository’s Food Rescue Program, which recovers prepared and perishable foods from area businesses and places it into the hands of those who need it.

Through its summer-long Making Music Matter program, Charter One will fund a new refrigerated Food Rescue truck, cold storage units, and other necessities required to increase capacity for local food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters throughout Cook County. This funding is provided by a $100,000 grant from the Charter One Foundation, and thousands of dollars in donations collected at concerts, at all Charter One bank locations in Illinois, online and via text message. As a result of these efforts, an additional 500,000 pounds of food per year will be rescued, which translates roughly to 375,000 meals distributed at 16 local food pantries and agencies.

"Much like the tradition of never playing the same setlist twice, food drives at our concerts have become a strong tradition at the shows, and we hope to continue the success we’ve had with it up until now and carry it on into the future – especially at these upcoming Chicago performances,” said a spokesman for Widespread Panic, a national touring force that has consistently landed in Pollstar’s top 50 tours of the year and has sold 3 million albums.

“We have seen an unprecedented number of people turning to our member pantries this year, but also an unprecedented response from the community,” said Kate Maehr, Executive Director of the Greater Chicago Food Depository. “The food drive at the Charter One Pavilion is a fun, easy way for music fans to get involved in the fight against hunger. Corporate programs, such as Charter One’s Making Music Matter, and grassroots efforts like Widespread Panic’s, will help us meet the rising demand.”

This is the fourth consecutive year that Charter One’s Making Music Matter initiative has raised money for local nonprofit organizations working to improve the lives of Chicago’s neediest. Since its inception, Making Music Matter has helped generate more than $500,000 for charitable and nonprofit organizations throughout the Chicago area.

About Charter One

Charter One is a division of RBS Citizens, N.A., operating in Illinois, Michigan and Ohio. It has approximately 360 branches and 612 ATMs. It has 102 branches and 320 ATMs in Illinois.   

RBS Citizens, N.A. is a subsidiary of Citizens Financial Group, Inc., a $153 billion commercial bank holding company headquartered in Providence, R.I. CFG’s two bank subsidiaries are RBS Citizens, N.A. and Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania. They operate a 12-state branch network under the Citizens Bank brand in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont, and the Charter One brand in Illinois, Michigan and Ohio. CFG has non-branch retail and commercial offices in about 40 states. It is one of the 10 largest commercial banking companies in the United States ranked by assets as of March 30, 2009. CFG is owned by RBS (The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc).   
 
About the Greater Chicago Food Depository

The Greater Chicago Food Depository, Chicago’s food bank, is a nonprofit food distribution and training center providing food for hungry people while striving to end hunger in our community. The Food Depository distributes donated and purchased food through a network of 600 pantries, soup kitchens and shelters to 500,000 adults and children in Cook County every year. Last year, the Food Depository distributed 58 million pounds of nonperishable food and fresh produce, dairy products and meat, the equivalent of 119,000 meals every day. The Food Depository’s programs and services for children, older adults and the unemployed and underemployed address the root causes of hunger. For more information, log onto www.chicagosfoodbank.org or call 773-247-FOOD.