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CINCINNATI - The Kroger Co. here is launching a companywide effort to increase the number of stores that donate to food banks across the country, via a program dubbed Perishable Donations Partnership (PDP). The chain will dedicate a senior staff person in at the corporate level, Kathleen Wright, to director the program.
Under Wright's leadership, Kroger's PDP will expand to include not only the current 30 million pounds per year of non-perishable food donations, but an additional 50 million pounds of nutritious, fresh food to food banks across the country, which represents an increase from 22 to 59 million meals annually, the company said.
The safe handling of perishable foods will make food bank and food pantry operations more complex, so Kroger's efforts will include expertise and resources to prepare local food banks for the safe and efficient handling of perishable foods.
"As a board member of Gleaner's Food Bank and head of a Kroger operating division that is particularly pro-active in relieving hunger, I am especially proud of our company's role in bringing healthy, nutritious food to the hungry," said Bob Moeder, president of Kroger's Indianapolis-based Central Division. "For far too long food banks have operated with the food people choose to donate, rather than being able to provide enough healthy, nutritious meals that include meat, fruit, vegetables and other perishable foods."
Kroger's Indianapolis-based Central Division - which includes 154 food stores, 129 pharmacies and 49 fuel centers operating under its eponymous banner, as well as Scott's, Owen's, Hilander and Pay Less primarily in Indiana and Illinois -- supported six food banks in Indiana and two in Illinois during 2006 with more than $150,000 in cash contributions, $50,000 in donated transportation, $109,000 in event support and more than $903,000 in donated food.
In addition to $1.2 million given to food banks in Indianapolis, Anderson, South Bend, Fort Wayne and Bloomington in Indiana, the company has added support of the Lafayette Food Finders food bank in 2007.