Nearly 300,000 Western Virginians struggle with hunger
The Kroger Co. recently announced a new, national effort aimed at ending hunger in the communities Kroger calls home and eliminating waste across the company by 2025.
“No family in a community we serve should ever go hungry, and no food in a store we operate should ever go to waste,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and CEO.
Across the United States, 42 million Americans struggle with hunger. Nearly 300,000 of them live in western Virginia. At the same time, an estimated 72 billion pounds of food ends up in a landfill every year.
“More than 40 percent of the food produced in the U.S. each year goes unconsumed, while one in eight people struggle with hunger. That just doesn’t make sense,” Mr. McMullen said. “As America’s grocer and one of the largest retailers in the world, we are committing to doing something about it.”
Kroger’s visionary Zero Hunger | Zero Waste plan includes the bold commitments outlined below, in keeping with the company’s Purpose to Feed the Human Spirit™.
Kroger is also crowdsourcing for solutions, asking communities, partners and other stakeholders to help provide ideas, feedback and best practices as the effort evolves.
“We don’t – and we won’t – have all the answers,” said Jerry Clontz, president of the Mid-Atlantic Division. “While we are clear about our vision, we are flexible about how to get there. We are working closely with both Feeding America and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), our longstanding partners, to develop transparent metrics to track our progress.
“And we are inviting everyone who is passionate about feeding people and protecting the planet to join us in our mission to end hunger in our communities and eliminate waste across our company by 2025,” Clontz added.
In 2016, Kroger donated 1.4 million meals through Feeding America Southwest Virginia and the Blue Ridge Food Bank. All 36 stores from Charlottesville to Bristol give perishable food to the food banks.
“Hunger exists in every county and affects every demographic group in this country,” said Diana Aviv, CEO of Feeding America®. “If we are to succeed in creating a hunger-free America, it will take the combined efforts of a variety of groups – policymakers, nonprofits, individuals and corporations – working together with the 200 network member food banks. Kroger is stepping up to the challenge and we look forward to working with them on their Zero Hunger | Zero Waste plan.”
“The production and consumption of food has the largest environmental footprint of any human activity. By wasting less food, we can reduce the environmental impact of food production while also conserving biodiversity and wildlife habitat,” said Sheila Bonini, Senior Vice President, Private Sector Engagement, WWF. “Kroger’s Zero Waste commitment sets a new standard for food waste reduction goals and will have a ripple effect across their supply chain and industry.”
-Submitted by Allison McGee