Virginia Tech’s football team spent the afternoon of Nov. 29 packaging 500 holiday food boxes in Salem at Feeding Southwest Virginia’s facility.
The effort was part of Touchdowns for Turkeys, a program between Kroger and Virginia Tech Athletics that is in its seventh year. Kroger donated turkeys for every touchdown scored by the team during the season.
Johnny Garrett, a freshman football player, was one of the players who packaged meals in Salem. “I thought it would be something cool to do, especially around the holidays. It’s kind of the giving season,” he said. “I think it’s important for everyone to have companionship and have a meal with their family. I just wanted to help out.”
He explained embracing a charitable mentality is part of the football team’s culture, especially with Head Coach Brent Pry. “He’s all about community,” Garrett said. “I feel this is the best way to show that we care about the people around us and that are supporting us. It’s good to give back. It’s something we should do.”
In total, 500 food boxes, which included a turkey, green beans, corn, tuna, rice, fruit, beans and oatmeal, were packaged as part of Touchdowns for Turkeys.
“This donation from Kroger comes at a critical time during the holiday season. Food supply is down 20/40 percent from previous years at the Food Bank,” the organization said. “Feeding Southwest Virginia needs help keeping up with the demand of our local pantries, which are requesting more food for their neighbors. Feeding Southwest Virginia is thankful for its partners who continue to care about food insecurity.”
James Menees, a corporate affairs manager for Kroger’s mid-Atlantic division, explained his organization donates 10 turkeys for every touchdown that is scored. The team scored 27 touchdowns this season, he said, which equates to 270 turkeys.
“We threw in an additional 230 turkeys to make it 500,” he said. “It’s a great program. We’re very appreciative of Virginia Tech’s partnership. We’re longtime partners and supporters of the food bank. This benefits those in need in our community.”
The organization added, “Feeding Southwest Virginia is grateful for Kroger and its dedication to reducing hunger in Southwest Virginia. Kroger has been a pivotal partner to Feeding Southwest Virginia and has continued to give back to its community in innovative ways.”