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Huntington Bank Partners with Big Lots and Meijer to Donate $100,000 Worth of Backpacks Throughout the Midwest / Backpacks Are Filled With Critical Supplies to Help Low-Income Children Start School

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Aug. 11 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Huntington National Bank today announced that it is donating $100,000 to support schoolchildren in need by supplying 14,000 backpacks filled with school supplies, just in time for the back-to-school season. The donation, in partnership with Big Lots and Meijer, is part of a backpack and school supply giveaway throughout the communities Huntington serves over a five-state area.

"We originally initiated the Huntington Backpack Index to help families save for the cost of going back to school," said Steve Steinour, chairman, president and CEO of Huntington Bank. "This year we expanded our program by helping low-income children start the year right with a new backpack and critical supplies. Along with our partners, Big Lots and Meijer, we want to set an example for community stewardship by helping families educate their children during the economic slowdown."

Big Lots supplied the 14,000 backpacks to Huntington Bank at a reduced price and Meijer contributed the school supplies being donated to the schoolchildren, including 14,000 packets of paper, rulers and erasers.

According to the 2009 Huntington Backpack Index of school supply costs, families are facing higher costs than ever to obtain the supplies and pay the extracurricular fees their school districts require. The index, released in July, showed that prices have increased 34%, from $351 to $472 for elementary school children, and 11%, from $894 to $998 for high school students. Only middle school students will see the cost remaining relatively stable at $535.

"Every child deserves to be prepared for the first day of school, but getting ready for class can mean additional expenses for families whose budgets are already stretched to the limit," said Big Lots CEO Steve Fishman. "We are delighted to partner with Huntington and Meijer to make a real impact on young lives through the backpack program."

"At Meijer, we know that shopping for back-to-school items can be a struggle for many families and this year is no exception," said Stacie Behler, vice president of corporate communications and public affairs for Meijer. "We're hoping that through this program we'll be able to make that first day back to school a little easier for families and their children."

Huntington will distribute the backpacks and school supplies throughout its regional markets across the Midwest, which includes Ohio, Indianapolis, Michigan, Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia. For more information about the Huntington Backpack Index, go to http://www.huntington.com/ and click the Backpack Index link in News & Information.

About Huntington

Huntington Bancshares Incorporated is a $52 billion regional bank holding company headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. Huntington has more than 143 years of serving the financial needs of its customers. Through our subsidiaries, including our banking subsidiary, The Huntington National Bank, we provide full-service commercial and consumer banking services, mortgage banking services, equipment leasing, investment management, trust services, brokerage services, customized insurance service program, and other financial products and services. Our over 600 banking offices are located in Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Huntington also offers retail and commercial financial services online at huntington.com; through its technologically advanced, 24-hour telephone bank; and through its network of almost 1,400 ATMs. The Auto Finance and Dealer Services group offers automobile loans to consumers and commercial loans to automobile dealers within our six-state banking franchise area. Selected financial service activities are also conducted in other states including: Private Financial Group offices in Florida; and Mortgage Banking offices in Maryland and New Jersey. International banking services are available through the headquarters office in Columbus and a limited purpose office located in both the Cayman Islands and Hong Kong.

Huntington Bancshares Incorporated

CONTACT: Maureen Brown of Huntington, +1-614-480-5512

Web Site: http://www.huntington.com/

© 2009 PR Newswire