With television cameras rolling, Assemblyman Gray Davis (D-Los Angeles) stood at the cash register at Vons market on Balboa Avenue Friday while the checkout clerk filled a grocery bag that bore pictures of missing children.
It was the first of 5 million such bags Vons supermarkets will distribute in the San Diego area this year as part of a campaign by the California Grocers Assn. to find missing children. Pictures of kidnaped and runaway children will also appear on 3.5 million milk cartons distributed statewide each month by Foremost and Jerseymaid dairies.
Davis staged the grocery purchase and subsequent in-store news conference to publicize the grocers' efforts and to lobby for legislation, of which he is a co-author, regarding missing children. "The grocery bag and milk carton campaigns will bring the pictures of missing children into every home and, hopefully, every heart in California," Davis said. "By any yardstick, our missing children campaign is already a success. The program is not even two months old, and already two children have been reunited with their families."
The grocers association has pledged to distribute at least 100 million bags this year in California. Vons is the first San Diego area supermarket to carry the bags, although other stores are expected to follow suit.
Davis said that in addition to helping consumers identify missing children, the bag campaign will also deter potential kidnapers and encourage parents to discuss topics such as child molestation and abduction with their children.
He added that his bill, AB 606, would make it easier for authorities to find missing children by establishing a reward for information leading to their safe return. Davis said the bill also would deter child molestation by making kidnaping for the purpose of molestation punishable by life imprisonment.