Nominees

 

Round Up to End Hunger

Company: Kroger, Columbus Division
Program category: Programs Addressing Food Insecurity

Origins:

In the early 2000s, a POS upgrade allowed cashiers to enter a PLU to “round up” a customer’s total to the nearest dollar. This advancement provided associates with a relatively simple way to solicit customer donations for fundraising initiatives. In the beginning, the feature was used only a few months of the year to raise money for local causes, but in 2010, the decision was made to continue the effort throughout the year. It was that year the “Round Up to End Hunger” program was launched in Kroger’s Columbus Division.

Cashiers at all 122 stores were encouraged to ask customers to round up their total to support the food bank or pantry that serves the local area. In addition, customers could drop their change in coin boxes located at each register. The average customer donation was, and continues to be, about 42 cents. One would think that wouldn’t add up to much, but at the end of 2010, $105,512 dollars was collected from customers to benefit local hunger relief agencies. As the ask became part of the job description, cashiers engaged more customers and customers continued to prove their generosity. Since 2010, the amount donated to local food banks through the “Round Up to End Hunger” program has totaled more than $6 million. The below chart highlights the growth of the campaign: 

 Year  Amount Raised
 2010  $105,512
 2011  $151,794
 2012  $110,614
 2013  $525,281
 2014  $1,520,762
 2015  $2,413,963
 2016 (YTD)   $1,909,514 

Contribution:

Kroger has contributed to the success of the program in a variety of ways; the most apparent is training associates to ask customers to give, and aligning associates with the mission of the campaign: to feed our hungry friends and neighbors. Through the years, Kroger’s Columbus Division has also invested in promoting the program via in-store signage and radio and television advertising. The success of the “Round Up to End Hunger” program can be attributed to generous Kroger customers. In every community we operate a store, customers are willing to give a little change, and are often surprised to learn that their pennies are making a big difference in their local communities

Objectives:

The objective of the program is to combat the issue of hunger in the neighborhoods where we operate stores. The money collected through the “Round Up to End Hunger” program is disbursed quarterly to Feeding America affiliate agencies. Feeding America foodbanks are able to use their buying power to feed more people, providing four meals with every $1 raised. In the current model, approximately 150 agencies are direct beneficiaries of the “Round Up to End Hunger” program. These agencies range from one foodbank that serves a 20-county area, to a small church pantry that provides quality, nutritious food to the hungry in the immediate area. All money collected through the program is designated for feeding programs, and is not to be used on expenditures unrelated to food assistance programming.

Impact:

Since 2010, the amount of money donated annually as part of the “Round Up to End Hunger” campaign has grown by more than 2,000 percent. In six years, Kroger customers have contributed more than $6 million through the campaign, which equates to 24 million meals. In the current funding model, foodbanks receive the bulk of the donated money to then distribute to affiliate pantries; this model allows the funding to be disbursed more widely throughout Kroger’s Columbus Division.

Quote:

“At Kroger, feeding people is the core of our business, and our associates take great pride in knowing that their simple ask is a step toward combating the issue of hunger in our neighborhoods,” said Kroger Columbus Division President Joe Grieshaber. “The Round Up program provides our customers with a simple, straightforward way to support a need in their community. The success of the program is due to the generosity of our customers and the passion of our associates.”

Matt Habash, President & CEO, Mid-Ohio Foodbank: “Kroger, our longest standing corporate ally, has been a Mid-Ohio Foodbank partner since we opened our doors in 1980. With one in four children and one in six Ohioans who are hungry, Kroger’s generous and committed partnership provides the most basic of needs --- food. Last year alone, Kroger contributed enough funds to provide 3,967,431 meals through its Round Up initiative. A truly innovative leader in our community, Kroger has mobilized and empowered its executive team, associates and customers to connect nutritious food to our hungry neighbors. The Foodbank is so incredibly grateful to call Kroger an amazing partner, community citizen and friend to all those who struggle. On behalf of those we are able to help, thank you Kroger!”

James M. Caldwell, Pres. & CEO, Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank: “We are extremely grateful to be teaming up with Kroger in the Round-Up to End Hunger Program. Currently 1 in 6 people struggle with hunger in Northwest Ohio, and as the need for food continues to grow, so must our efforts. All donations from this program go directly to our feeding programs, and it’s amazing to see the community supporting fellow community members in need. Together with Kroger, we will continue to fight to end hunger in our community.”