Kroger began participating in this community food drive 14 years ago. In 2002, when the food drive began, 35,000 pounds of food was donated. This year, a total of 1,271,080 pounds of food was donated, which exceeded the desired goal of 1,040,000 pounds. Donations were accepted at all Decatur, Illinois area Kroger stores leading up to the fundraiser as well as at local schools. There are essentially four ways to give on the day of the food drive: at the designated Kroger store, by calling in to WSOY, by texting and by donating online via several websites. This 12-hour food drive primarily benefits the Salvation Army and Decatur-area Catholic Charities, but there are also several local charities that benefit from donations.
Each year, Kroger Central Division donates $10,000 to this particular food drive. This donation is in addition to the non-perishable items collected from customers in four Decatur-area stores leading up to the one-day fundraiser. The amount donated is a fraction of the support the company offers towards hunger relief, as 200 million meals were donated by the company in 2014. It takes a collective effort to achieve something like this and Kroger does a great job of involving customers in these efforts; after all, it takes a community to feed a community.
The objective of this program is to ensure the residents of Macon County, and even some surrounding counties, are not food-insecure especially during the holiday season. In this county, one out of five children are food insecure; it also has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state of Illinois. Essentially, Macon County residents depend on this food drive to provide for the community, especially during the holidays.
The following is a chart that shows goals of pounds vs. actual pounds raised: Year Goal in Lbs. Lbs. Collected 2002 35,000 2003 56,000 2004 80,000 2005 100,000 110,000 2006 150,000 175,000 2007 200,000 266,000 2008 300,000 300,000 2009 350,000 382,000 2010 400,000 640,000 2011 600,000 640,000 2012 650,000 730,000 2013 750,000 820,000 2014 850,000 1,040,000 2015 1,040,000 1,271,080 We believe what makes this food drive so successful is friendly competition, all aimed at achieving one common goal. The community rallies together to provide for neighbors who may not be as fortunate as they are. Particularly with the participating schools, it is great to "condition" kids into giving, as we believe charitable giving can become a habit.
“Hunger relief is one of the Kroger Co.’s five focus areas, and this fundraiser, like many others we do, is something we put 110% effort into. It’s an amazing site to see on the parking lot of a Kroger Store from sunup to sundown. I am proud of our Decatur Store Teams and the way they have continued to grow this event year after year. In addition to this fundraiser, Kroger Central Division also hosts an annual food drive around Thanksgiving and Christmas called “Share Your Feast” which last year, provided 193,800 meals to the people in our communities who are food insecure.” -Jeff Burt, President of Kroger Central Division
“It would be very difficult for the Salvation Army to operate its food pantry without this huge community wide food event,” Salvation Army Major Wes Dalberg told WAND’s Doug Wolfe. “This comes just at the right time for us.” The Salvation Army feeds more than 30,000 people at its Decatur food pantry each year. It depends on the annual WSOY Community Food Drive to help those hungry individuals. The food collected by the Army will enable it to provide food at its pantry through the remainder of the year. -WAND-17