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The Kroger Co. has donated 175 million meals from fresh meat, produce, dairy and bakery items to Feeding America food banks since 2008 through its groundbreaking Perishable Donations Partnership.
"Kroger's No. 1 community priority is to support organizations that bring food and hope to our neighbors in need," said Lynn Marmer, Kroger's group VP of corporate affairs. "With one in six Americans unsure where their next meal will come from, our store associates are leading the charge to deliver fresh nutritious items like healthy fruits and vegetables to Feeding America's network of food banks."
Perishable donations have steadily increased as a share of Kroger's total contributions to food banks. In 2012 alone, Kroger donated the equivalent of 200 million meals – 4 million meals every week – in food and funds. The Perishable Donations Partnership contributed 40.8 million fresh meals to the total in 2012, up from 11.7 million in 2008.
Scaled across Kroger's family of stores beginning in 2008, Kroger's Perishable Donations Partnership program depends on store associates taking the time to identify meat, produce, dairy and bakery items that can no longer be sold yet remain safe, fresh and nutritious complements to dry goods donations to food banks. Kroger shared its innovative program with the rest of the retail food industry through the Feeding America network.
"The Perishable Donations Partnership has rapidly become our most important source of food to help feed families struggling with hunger," said Matt Knott, president of Feeding America. "Our retail donations program has grown in large part because Kroger opened its playbook to the rest of the industry and showed other retailers how it could be done."
Kroger's Fred Meyer division pioneered the Perishable Donations Partnership about nine years ago. Stores partnered with local food banks in the Pacific Northwest to collect fresh food and properly store it so it could be quickly shipped to reach hungry families. Kroger adopted Fred Meyer's model and worked with Feeding America to develop food safety and quality control standards, and trained associates to facilitate the program in their stores. Currently, 96 percent of the company's 2,419 supermarket stores participate in the program.
Kroger's announcement coincides with Hunger Action Month, Feeding America's month-long campaign to inspire individuals to take action to help end hunger in their communities.
The program has also enabled Kroger to divert more than 100,000 tons of waste away from landfills and incinerators.
As a founding partner of Feeding America, the nation's largest domestic hunger agency, Kroger has been engaged in the hunger relief effort for more than 30 years. Today, the Kroger family of stores has longstanding relationships with more than 80 local food banks.
Cincinnati-based Kroger operates 2,419 supermarkets and multidepartment 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.