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The Kroger Co. Family of Stores, in partnership with key suppliers, has committed $3 million in donations for local breast cancer initiatives across the country to support National Breast Cancer Awareness month in October.
This will be the seventh year since Kroger -- Progressive Grocer's 2013 Retailer of the Year -- began the Giving Hope a Hand initiative. By the end of 2013, Kroger will have donated more than $24 million to support breast cancer research, education and services since 2006.
The effort kicked off in stores Sept. 22 and features 21 Kroger associates who are breast cancer survivors on marketing materials and custom packages of national and Kroger corporate brand products. These women share their survivor stories on the packaging of select items sold exclusively in Kroger's family of stores.
Kroger associate Joanna Garcia is featured this year on select Kraft cheese packaging. Garcia had no family history of breast cancer but she learned a lot about herself throughout her battle with the disease. "I learned I have more strength in myself than I ever thought I had. I learned that with perseverance, patience, and moral support you can get through any type of situation that comes your way," she said. "It's OK to cry and be angry, as long as you keep fighting."
The Giving Hope a Hand campaign "aims to inspire our customers and raise awareness by sharing stories from some of the more than 2.7 million women who are breast cancer survivors," said David Dillon, Kroger's chairman and CEO. "The Kroger family is honored that so many of our associates offered their personal stories of hope and triumph."
Last year, Kroger received the 2012 Gold HALO award from the Cause Marketing Forum for the company's annual Giving Hope a Hand campaign.
All of the inspirational stories from Kroger associates can be found on Sharing Courage, an interactive website dedicated to raising breast cancer awareness. Kroger customers, associates and their friends are also encouraged to show their support and encouragement through the Sharing Courage online community, where they can:
• Show support by clicking to download a digital pink ribbon to their shopper card. When 1 million customers have downloaded the special digital ribbon from Kroger digital media, it will turn pink to raise awareness.
• Post words of encouragement for a loved one or the community at large on the Wall of Hope at the site or Facebook page.
• Stamping their own Facebook profile photo or cover photo with a Sharing Courage graphic.
Kroger's campaign features a store-wide sales promotion of popular items, many of which will feature exclusive, specially-marked pink packaging. This year, 1,600 items, including Kroger's own products and popular items from Kroger partners, including Campbell's, Dannon, Energizer, Frito Lay, General Mills, Jimmy Dean, Kimberly Clark, Kraft, Nestle, Pepperidge Farm, Pepsi, Post, Purina, Sargento, Snapple and SC Johnson will be marked with special shelf tags to highlight participation.
Cincinnati-based Kroger operates 2,418 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 31 states under two dozen local banner names including Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Jay C, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry's, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs and Smith's.