Kroger is going on a hiring spree and pledging $3 million toward food insecurity during the coronavirus outbreak crippling many parts of the nation.
On Monday, the Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation announced a $3 million commitment to rapidly deploy hunger-relief resources to communities disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
"Our most urgent mission is to be here for our customers when they need us most, and our store, warehouse, distribution, food production and office associates are working around the clock to keep our stores open for our customers," said Keith Dailey, Kroger's group vice president of corporate affairs. "We're also mindful that the coronavirus pandemic may result in more of our neighbors struggling with food insecurity during this challenging time – and we want to help. That is why The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation is directing $3 million, its largest commitment to date, to rapidly deploy hunger-relief resources to food-insecure communities across the country."
The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation's $3 million commitment will be equally distributed between the foundation's nonprofit partners, Feeding America and No Kid Hungry. The funding will not only support local food banks nationwide, but also fund initiatives that ensure children, whose schools may be closed, still have access to nutritious meals.
"Nearly 22 million children rely on the meals they receive at school," said Tom Nelson, president and CEO of Share Our Strength, the organization behind the No Kid Hungry campaign. "In partnership with The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation, No Kid Hungry is actively funding emergency grants to food banks and nonprofit groups in the hardest-hit communities, helping families know how to find meals while schools are closed and ensuring every child has access to three meals a day."
Kroger and its affiliates also continue to donate food and funds to local food banks and hunger-relief efforts.
Kroger says it's making it easy for customers to support the foundation's mission to create communities free of hunger and waste by choosing to round up their purchases to the nearest dollar at every self-checkout lane in America or donate at ZeroHungerZeroWasteFoundation.org.
Kroger and its affiliates are also encouraging direct giving to local hunger-relief organizations.
Meanwhile, Kroger is advertising immediate openings for employees on its website and in customer emails. The national grocery company, which owns chains including Fred Meyer, is filling jobs at stores, distribution centers and manufacturing plants.
On Sunday, Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen said in a statement that two workers, one at a King Soopers store in Colorado and another at Fred Meyer in Washington, have tested positive for COVID-19. Both associates are being treated and are recovering. Both stores are still open for business.
Kroger has activated its Emergency Leave Guidelines policy, which provides paid time off for up to 14 days for those who test positive or are placed under mandatory quarantine. After that, if associates need more time off, the benefits of short-term disability will apply.
Cincinnati-based Kroger employs nearly half a million associates who serve 9 million-plus customers daily through a seamless digital shopping experience and 2,769 retail food stores under a variety of banner names. The company is No. 2 on Progressive Grocer’s 2019 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.