Southern California Market Region Report
Memorial Day 2011
USO (United Service Organizations) in its 254 Ralphs' banner supermarkets in California and Nevada and its 147 Food 4 Less and Foods Co discount warehouse stores in California, Nevada, Illinois and Indiana.
The USO has for 70-years provided aid, comfort, cheer and entertainment to active duty members of the U.S. military and their families throughout the United States and abroad.
Kroger's Los Angeles-based Ralphs/Food 4 Less chain is launching a checkstand-based fundraising drive in its 254 Ralphs' supermarkets in California and Nevada and 147 Food 4 Less and Foods Co price-impact warehouse stores in California, Nevada, Illinois and Indiana, for the (United Service Organizations), which for 70-years has provided active duty members of the U.S. military and their families with aid, comfort, cheer and entertainment throughout the United States and abroad.
The fundraising program, called "Honoring Our Heroes," is being launched in the 401 stores this week and will run until August 13, 2001, according to Mike Donnelly, president of Ralphs, and Bryan Kaltenbach, president of Kroger's Food 4 Less/Food Co chain.
Customers of the stores can donate money to the USO simply by donating their spare change (currency excepted as well) in collection canisters that have been set up at the checkstands in all the stores.
All the money donated between now and August 13 will be given directly to the USO to help it support the numerous programs and entertainment events it provides to members of the U.S. armed services.
Kicking off the program today, Ralphs' Donnelly said: "We salute our troops and thank them for the sacrifices they make to protect us. Ralphs is delighted to be able to help our troops through our support of local USO chapters."
Kaltenbach, president of sister chain Food 4 Less/Foods Co, echoed Donnelly's sentiments: "We are very proud to show our support of the U.S. military by raising funds for the USO," he said. "The USO's mission is important in letting active duty military personnel know the citizens of the United States appreciate their efforts."
The Ralphs/Food 4 Less in-store fundraising program is part of a major commitment Kroger Co. made earlier this year at the Daytona 500 auto race to expand what has been an ongoing relationship it has with the USO.
At the race on February 20, Kroger Co. presented the USO with a check for $400,000, which was donated by customers and employes from fundraising programs held in 2010 at about 1,300 Kroger-operated stores across the U.S., including its Ralphs, Food 4 Less, Dillon's and Baker's banner chain's.
Kroger announced at the event a pledge to expand its efforts this year to raise even more money for the USO through in-store fundraisers like the checkstand donation program, various online-based promotions and a text-to-give campaign it conducted during the race on February 20, in which the grocer sent text messages to its data base of shoppers encouraging them to text "USO" to 27722 during the race as a way of donating $10 to USO programs.
Kroger has over 350 associates who are active duty or reservist members of the U.S. military, according to the company.
At the Daytona 500 the food and grocery retailer, the USO and JTG Daugherty Racing painted a special Kroger emblem on the red, white and blue #47 Kroger-USO car, which was driven by NASCAR champion Bobby Labonte. The emblem featured the names of the more than 350 Kroger associates who are active duty or reservist members of the U.S. military. Kroger was the exclusive retail partner for the Daytona 500 race.
Earlier his month, on May 3, consumer packaged goods giant Proctor & Gamble (P&G) teamed up with Kroger in an ongoing nationwide and chain-wide promotion to raise even more money for the USO as part of the retailer's "Honoring Our Heroes" campaign and its year-long commitment to the service organization.
As part of the partnership Kroger and P&G created a digital opportunity for people to virtually “shake the hand of a hero," which is considered the proper gesture to use with U.S. troops in uniform to thank them for their service to our country.
The first 50,000 people to utilize the web application to shake a hero’s hand on http://www.honoringourheroes.com/ will receive a special offer on one of the following P&G brands: Tide, Downy, Gillette, Pantene, Old Spice and Prilosec, according to P&G.
Through the partnership with P&G, Kroger will make a $250,000 donation to the USO, which is in in addition to the money raised during the May-August checkstand fundraising program, which is also being conducted at some of Kroger's other chains in the U.S.
Kroger and P&G also launched their joint-program in early May by offering a week-long promotion at all the retailer's chains and stores in which shoppers received a $5 instant rebate when they purchased any 10 P&G brand items out of many offered in what was named the "Mega Event" sales promotion.
You can visit the Kroger-Proctor & Gamble "Honoring Our Heroes" website here. It includes a variety of features, including ways all of us can honor those serving in the U.S. military. And with Memorial Day just a few days away, now is the perfect time to what you can to show your support.
The USO, which was founded 70-years ago, has a simple but not always easy to fulfill mission, which is to lift the spirits of America's troops and their families wherever they are deployed.
The non-profit service organization meets its mission by offering active duty members of the military and their families an extensive range of programs at more than 160 locations in 27 U.S. states and in 14 countries.
It also puts on hundreds of entertainment events each year as part of its spirit-lifting mission. The entertainers the USO brings to the troops throughout the world, including in Iraq and Afghanistan, include famous comedians and singers - and much more.
The upcoming Memorial Day weekend is a big time of year for the USO, although so are the other 360-plus days of the year.
You can learn how the USO is honoring active duty troops and veterans this Memorial Day Weekend at its website here, along with learning about ways you can help the organization in its mission to lift the spirits of members of the U.S. military and their families 365-days of the year.
Related Story - May 25, 2011: 'Side by Side': Wine at Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Aids America's Wounded Warriors.