KAHULUI, HI (October 3, 2011) – Whole Foods Market is currently inviting customers to donate or “recycle” their change at store registers in support of Read Aloud America. The program will run for twelve weeks and will coincide with a special “Keiki Spooky Story Time” event at 3 p.m. on October 31, 2011 at Whole Foods Market’s Kahului store.


Read Aloud America program director Joanne Laird will help kick off Halloween at a reading session with fun but thrilling stories. Perfect for children ages pre-kindergarten through second grade, all children will receive a special goody bag from Whole Foods Market with a healthy snack to start their afternoon of trick-or-treating. Children are encouraged to come in costume and Read Aloud America will give away prizes at a costume contest drawing. All children must be accompanied by a parent or caregiver.


Committed to continuing their efforts, Read Aloud America is looking to strengthen partnerships and support with local businesses. “We are determined to secure funding and continue our mission to promote literacy, bond families and build communities of lifetime readers,” said Joanne Laird, Read Aloud America program director. “Partnerships with businesses like Whole Foods Market are vital to ensuring the sustainability of our programs – and, more importantly, continue to reach new audiences.”


Since opening its doors in February 2010, Whole Foods Market Kahului has partnered with more than 50 local organizations on fundraisers, sponsorships and volunteer projects. Support has included efforts that play on Whole Foods Market’s reputation as a green business with a strong focus on recycling. The Recycle Your Change program provides customers an opportunity to support nonprofits by ‘recycling’ their left over change when making a purchase at Whole Foods Market. Recent recipients of this program include the Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project, Maui High School Project Graduation, A-KAKU, and Slow Food Maui.


“We are excited by the opportunity to work and provide support of such worthy organizations like Read Aloud America, which promote a love for literacy amongst our island keiki,” said Elyse Ditzel, marketing director for Whole Foods Market Kahului. Our partnership with Read Aloud America started with team members volunteering at school reading programs and we are thrilled to strengthen this relationship with both additional monetary support as well as in-store reading sessions for local families and keiki.”


Read Aloud America supports reading programs at 22 public elementary and middle schools on three islands, serving 15,951 adults and children in more than 4,000 households. Over the past school year, Read Aloud America has attracted a cumulative audience of 45,710 individuals. Traditionally supported through the State of Hawai‘i Department of Human Services (DHS), Read Aloud America, like many other organizations, lost grant support this year due to state budget cuts.


For additional information on Read Aloud America, please visit www.readaloudamerica.org or call (808) 856-3100. Learn about participating schools for the 2011-12 school year or register for participation. Volunteer support is always welcome.


For additional information on Whole Foods Market’s Kahului store, please visit www.wholefoodsmarket.com/maui/ or call (808) 872-3310. To keep up-to-date on the latest store news, events and sales, follow Whole Foods Market Kahului on twitter at www.twitter.com/wfmkahului or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WFMKahului.