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The drive raised $2.3 million nationally for the USO’s “Honoring our Heroes” campaign.
Photo courtesy of Kroger
Valerie Jabbar, a Kroger vice president and member of the board of directors of Feeding America Southwest Virginia, recently presented a check for $53,479.56 from two fundraisers to Pamela Irvine, CEO of the food bank, at the Kroger store on Rutgers Street in Roanoke.
Friday, July 26, 2013
In keeping with their national initiative, the stores in Kroger’s mid-Atlantic region recently completed campaigns that supplemented the coffers of the USO and Feeding America of Southwest Virginia.
Nationally, Kroger, which has more than 2,400 stores in 31 states, raised $2.3 million for the USO during the chain’s “Honoring our Heroes” campaign.
The 120 stores in Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio contributed $100,966 of the $2.3 million total to help military personnel and their families.
The mid-Atlantic region also has donated more than $53,000 from two other campaigns to Feeding America Southwest Virginia.
Kroger’s top initiative is hunger relief, said Allison McGee, the region’s customer communications specialist.
“We really listen to what our customers and associates tell us” when it comes to selecting community service projects, she said.
Combating hunger, she said, is one of several national initiatives that also include fighting cancer and diabetes, McGee said.
All of the support — whether in the form of cash or products — stays and serves the community where it was raised; it does not go to the corporate level, McGee said.
During the final week of May and the first week of June, Kroger stores featured hundreds of popular products at special sale prices. A percentage of the sales from the items that included Kroger’s own products and those from key partners — including Unilever, Coca-Cola, Kraft, Nestle, Frito Lay, Proctor and Gamble, ConAgra and Dannon — was donated to the USO, a private, nonprofit organization that supports active service members and their families, veterans and wounded and ill troops.
Kroger customers also donated spare change in specially marked coin boxes at check-out stands or by rounding off their purchases at registers.
Along with raising money for the USO, Kroger is making a major commitment to hiring veterans on the national level, joining more than 90 other companies in the “100,000 Jobs Mission” program that has a collective goal of hiring more than 100,000 transitioning service members and military veterans by 2020.
Since 2009, more than 17,000 veterans have joined Kroger.
In addition, this summer Kroger stores are treating returning service members in the mid-Atlantic region to a “welcome home” meal of Kroger deli chicken and Coca-Cola.
Kroger customers who visit www.honoringourheroes.com can volunteer with the USO, make donations or write notes to service personnel.
Food banks also fall under Kroger’s national initiative of providing hunger relief.
The recent “Feed the Need” and “Bringing Hope to the Table” campaigns raised more than $118,000 for the 10 food banks in Kroger’s Mid-Atlantic region, McGee said.
Feeding America Southwest Virginia in Salem received $53,479.56 from Kroger’s mid-Atlantic region to assist in hunger relief efforts.
The “Feed the Need” program, a joint effort of Kroger and its customers in stores from Smith Mountain Lake to Bristol, raised $31,141.90. The “Bringing Hope to the Table” program, which is a national Kroger effort, generated $22,337.66.
“Kroger’s donation will provide nearly a quarter of a million meals to those in need of food in Southwest Virginia,” Pamela Irvine, director of Feeding America Southwest Virginia, said in a news release.
“These are challenging times for Feeding America Southwest Virginia. Without help from the community and wonderful supporters such as Kroger and their customers, we could see a reduction in the amount of food to our partner feeding agencies.”
Kroger’s donations of cash and foods provided more than 5.5 million meals last year in the mid-Atlantic region, said Valerie Jabbar, a Kroger vice president and Feeding America Southwest Virginia board member.
“We’re proud to play a role in helping the less fortunate and making our communities better places to live,” she said.
For 30 years, Kroger has worked with Feeding America and its network of food banks to bring food, funds and hands-on assistance to hunger relief efforts in the communities where Kroger customers and associates live and work.
Several food drives are already planned over the winter holidays, which McGee called “the critical months.”
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