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The Kroger Co. and the United Service Organizations (USO) are growing their partnership with a campaign to support men and women in the armed forces and their loved ones. Launched during the Daytona 500 celebration on Feb. 20, the yearlong initiative will raise funds for members of the armed forces in collaboration with the USO, which offers morale-boosting programs and services for U.S. troops and their families. The campaign will encompass in-store and online promotions, as well as enabling Kroger customers to text “USO” to 27722 during the race to donate $10 to the organization’s programs.
Cincinnati-based Kroger additionally presented a $400,000 donation to the USO on Feb. 20. The funds were collected last year from customers and associates at almost 1,300 Kroger-operated supermarkets across the country, among them Kroger, Ralphs, Food 4 Less, Dillon's and Baker's stores.
“This is an exciting time for the USO as we celebrate the 70th anniversary of lifting the spirits of America’s troops and their families,” said Sloan Gibson, president of the USO, a Washington-based private, nonprofit organization. “We're committed to providing the wide array of services needed to support our troops and their families.”
Kroger and USO executives were joined at the Daytona 500 celebration by Juan Cortes, a Kroger associate and lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve. The grocer is the exclusive retail partner for the premiere racing event.
As a special tribute to the grocer’s associates who are serving in the military, Kroger, the USO and JTG Daugherty Racing revealed a special Kroger emblem on the red, white and blue #47 Kroger-USO car, driven by NASCAR champion Bobby Labonte. The emblem features the names of more than 350 Kroger associates who are active-duty or reservist members of the U.S. military.
Kroger employs more than 338,000 associates at 2,461 supermarkets and multidepartment stores in 31 states under two dozen local banners, including Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Jay C, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry's, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs and Smith’s. The company also operates 784 convenience stores, 375 fine jewelry stores, 954 supermarket fuel centers and 40 food-processing plants in the United States.