Bringing Smiles and Making a Difference through MDA’s Aisles of Smiles Program

JL-Mike Neufeldt Shopping
Jerry Lewis shops with MDA Ambassador Mike Neufeldt

Longtime MDA partner Acosta Sales & Marketing has been committed to helping families live unlimited for more than two decades ago through MDA’s Aisles of Smiles program. The program began as the brainchild of Hank Lautrup, a food broker employed by Southern California-based Kelley-Clarke Inc. At the time, Lautrup’s son had been recently diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. Lautrup took notice of the type of events being held and money raised by other sponsors to support the MDA, and he figured his industry — the food industry — also could have a program that raised money to benefit MDA and serve as a mechanism to boost his employer’s business.

When Acosta acquired Kelley-Clarke in 1999, it upgraded Aisles of Smiles from a regional to a national program and an annual grocery store tradition was born. Each year, Acosta encourages its manufacturer clients to get involved with MDA at various events and campaigns throughout the country. The products of participating manufacturers are highlighted on grocery shelves by MDA Aisles of Smiles placards for customers to see and purchase.

“Acosta Sales & Marketing is proud to support MDA and help improve the lives of people fighting muscle-debilitating diseases,” says Acosta Sales & Marketing President and CEO Robert Hill. “Our ability to leverage the strength of consumer brands and retailers and to engage shoppers is a winning combination that raises funds and increases awareness for this important cause.”

Since 1985, Acosta Sales & Marketing has raised more than $81 million for MDA through the Aisles of Smiles program, an associated pinup campaign at the register and special golf and social events. The tradition continues in 2016 as consumer brands, grocery retailers and shoppers participate in the campaign in hundreds of locations across the country to support MDA families and bring awareness to MDA’s lifesaving mission.