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CINCINNATI -- With food banks nationwide reporting increased demand for assistance and unprecedented shortages, The Kroger Co. here said it is delivering 35 additional truckloads this month, carrying produce, meat, eggs, and non-perishable food to food banks in the markets its banners serve.
"The need is always greatest around the holidays and this year, our food bank partners are telling us the need is even more acute," said Lynn Marmer, Kroger's group v.p./corporate affairs and a member of America's Second Harvest's board of directors.
The 35 truckloads fanning out this month are in addition to the chain's long-standing support of year-round anti-hunger initiatives along with its customers, in programs that include purchasing pre-assembled food bags containing items food banks need most, donating non-perishable foods in collection barrels in stores, and dropping spare change into specially-marked coin boxes at check stands.
In addition, customers in some locations are able to add a tax-deductible donation to their purchases at the register.
Last year, Kroger's holiday hunger relief efforts raised more than $3.5 million to assist local food banks, which represents nearly two million meals for local citizens.
In locations especially hit hard by shortages, the grocer will extend local campaigns beyond December. For example, Kroger stores in Texas will launch the Souper Bowl of Caring campaign in January, its goal to generate two million pounds of food and other needed items -- enough to fill 18 truckloads -- for food banks in that state.
In 2007, America's Second Harvest named Kroger "Retailer of the Year," for its contributions, the fifth time in seven years the chain has received the award.
In addition to Kroger banner stores, the company's family of supermarkets includes Ralphs, Fred Meyer, Food 4 Less, Fry's, King Soopers, Smith's, Dillons, QFC and City Market.