The day before the 2013 Pink Zone basketball game at Penn State, two local Giant Food Stores raised $2,000 to help the program in its fight against breast cancer.
This year, Giant has extended its promotion to 30 stores across central and western Pennsylvania, with the goal of increasing the giving significantly.
Pink Zone honors breast-cancer survivors while raising money for hospitals and advocacy organizations.
It is a year-round program that will culminate with the Lady Lions basketball game at 1 p.m. Sunday against Wisconsin at the Bryce Jordan Center.
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On Saturday, Giant’s employees will be decked out in pink, sporting buttons and talking about the Pink Zone effort.
“We’re really going to pink it up,” said John MacDonald, director of marketing and external communications for Giant Food Stores, based in Carlisle.
Customers visiting the two State College-area Giant locations, 2222 E. College Ave. and 255 Northland Center, will encounter Pink Zone merchandise and giveaways, themed baked goods and special pink floral arrangements, with proceeds supporting the program.
Pink Zone Executive Director Miriam Powell said employees and customers at the Giant stores embraced the “pink-out” concept.
“People want to get behind it and feel like they’re making a difference,” Powell said. “It’s nice to see people getting involved at all levels. Not everybody can write a $500 check. But they can ask somebody to give a dollar at the check-out.”
Pink Zone’s 2013 proceeds benefit programs at Mount Nittany Medical Center and five other entities. More than $825,000 has been raised since 2007, including $260,000 last year.
Last year, more than 600 breast-cancer survivors attended the game.
“Pink Zone is such a great effort, and we want to make sure our customers are aware of that, too,” MacDonald said.
He said Giant will sponsor pom-poms to be distributed to fans at the game. But first, his stores will have their pink parties.
“We’ll make (Saturday) a great day for Pink Zone,” MacDonald said. “Check that: A Giant day for Pink Zone.”