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Spreading the Wealth (and Health)

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For the past two years, Weight Watchers of Philadelphia has spearheaded fantastic charitable endeavors by taking advantage of the old adage that helping others can also help yourself. In its Lose for Good campaign, the organization encourages its members to lose weight through healthy diet and exercise while simultaneously donating the extra food they no longer need to local food banks.

The campaign, initiated by Weight Watchers International in 2008, has proven to be very successful in the 11-county area that comprises the Philadelphia franchise. In its second annual campaign, which ran from August to October 2009, the city’s participants lost close to 100,000 pounds and donated thousands of pounds of food. These numbers contributed to the global goal for members to lose 4 million pounds. Since the goal was met, the organization donated $1 million, split between two hunger-fighting coalitions, Share Our Strength and Action Against Hunger.

“Weight Watchers has always been an organization that has encouraged normal weight ranges through proper nutritional practices, exercise and lifestyle modification, so things having to do with food and nutrition are ideal programs for them to participate in,” says Stuart Rosen-Coren, spokesman for Weight Watchers of Philadelphia.

Last year, the campaign sponsored 3,300 food drives across the country, collecting 2 million pounds of food to help replenish pantries that give people in need access to healthy options for meals. Main Line recipients of the food donations include The Lord’s Pantry in Downingtown, the Media Action Food Center and the St. Agnes Day Room of Saint Agnes Parish in West Chester.

After such a successful showing last year, which Rosen-Coren says saw an increase in interest and awareness compared to the first campaign, Weight Watchers definitely plans on hosting the Lose for Good campaign again this year. That campaign, which should kick off this summer, will continue the organization’s new tradition of sharing the wealth in healthy eating practices.

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