Friday, June 13, 2008

Kroger and Second Helpings Partner to Feed the Hungry

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – At a Sunday evening June 8th dinner in honor of Second Helpings' 10th anniversary, Kroger Central Division Public Affairs Manager John Elliott announced a major perishable food partnership between Kroger and Second Helpings as part of Kroger’s national Perishable Donation Partnership (PDP).

"For far too long food banks, food rescue organizations and local food pantries have operated with the food that people choose to donate, rather than being able to provide enough healthy, nutritious meals that include meat, seafood, fruit, vegetables and other perishable foods," said Bob Moeder, president of Kroger Central Division. "Just because a family is temporarily unable to purchase their meals in retail food stores, that should not mean they have to accept a lower quality standard or inadequate nutritional value."

Second Helpings and Gleaner's Food Bank will share access to a significant quantity of healthy, nutritious perishable food donations from nearly 50 Central Indiana Kroger stores. Second Helpings and Gleaners have just completed a successful pilot of the program for Kroger's Central Division, working with four stores each. Prior to the pilot, both organizations had to undergo thorough evaluations, including food safety evaluation and other certifications.

Kroger's cash contribution on June 8th includes $5,000 in support of Second Helpings' highly respected chef training academy, as well as $5,000 that is unrestricted. Kroger made a contribution of $15,000 earlier this year to underwrite costs associated with a special insert in "Indianapolis Woman" magazine promoting the mission and programs of Second Helpings.

The partnership with Second Helpings' Culinary Job Training Program, headed by Chef Carl Conway, will include Kroger's hiring graduates of the program, supporting curriculum and content of the training program, access to Kroger stores during training sessions and other shared expertise in what is projected to be a mutually-beneficial exchange of talent and ideas.

Kroger enthusiastically supports helping organizations that provide food to those in need. The donations of nutritious perishable food will be especially important to children for healthy growth and development.

According to Mr. Moeder, "Kroger does not do this alone. We rely heavily on partners in every community to feed the hungry. I personally visited Second Helpings and share my colleagues' great enthusiasm for the quality and effectiveness of their organization. We were so impressed that we sought special approval from our corporate headquarters in Cincinnati to allow Second Helpings to be the first food rescue organization in the nation to participate in the PDP. I am especially pleased that our division’s leading expert on food safety, Melissa Miller, has agreed to lead this PDP for us. Kroger is very committed to making this perishable food program just as successful as the many other programs comprising our 125 year history of feeding the hungry in our local communities."

Cindy Hubert, CEO of Second Helpings added, "Second Helpings is honored to have been chosen to be part of Kroger's perishable food partnership and receive the wonderful financial support from Kroger. The confidence Bob Moeder and Kroger's leadership team have shown to Second Helpings to allow us to be the first food rescue organization certified within the nation is priceless. We are looking forward to a long and rewarding alliance with Kroger to feed the hungry within our community."

Background:Nationally, 40% of the $160.5 million Kroger donates in local communities goes to hunger relief. These donations are primarily dry grocery products and can goods. "This is an exciting opportunity to bring even more food and hope to hungry people," said Lynn Marmer, Kroger’s Group Vice President of Corporate Affairs and a member of the national board of directors of America’s Second Harvest. "This initiative not only increases the amount of fresh food Kroger donates, it will help improve the diets of individuals and families who depend on hunger relief programs by giving food banks access to a variety of nutritious meats, fruits and vegetables."

Kroger has launched the PDP as a company-wide project to increase the number of stores that donate safe, perishable food to America's Second Harvest food banks across the country. As part of the PDP program, Kroger has dedicated a senior staff person in the corporate headquarters, Kathleen Wright, as Director of the Company’s PDP. 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. In terms of meals, this represents an increase from 22 to 59 million meals annually. 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.

Kroger's Central Division, based in Indianapolis, supported six food banks in Indiana and two in Illinois during 2007 with more than $2 million in cash contributions, donated transportation, event support and donated food. Kroger actively engages its customers and the communities in which its employees live and work in its hunger relief efforts by supporting food drives throughout the year. Kroger is a major sponsor of the Boy Scouts of America's "Scouting for Food" program and leads a "Share Your Feast” food drive during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays each year. Kroger’s financial contributions are reinforced by substantial non-cash support such as donated equipment; professional expertise and considerable volunteer hours.

The Kroger Central Division has 154 food stores, 129 pharmacies and 51 fuel centers operating under five banners; Kroger, Scott's, Owen’s, Hilander and Pay Less, with locations primarily in Indiana and Illinois, in addition to five stores in Missouri, one in Michigan and one in Ohio. Kroger Central Division is dedicated to supporting every local community it serves, contributing more than $7 million annually to local organizations, primarily focusing on hunger relief, K-12 education, health causes and diversity. At Kroger we value: honesty, respect, inclusion, diversity, safety and integrity.

Source: The Kroger Company- Central Division

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