By Valerie Baldowski
Kroger supermarkets throughout Henry are pitching in to prevent hunger this Christmas.
The annual Can Hunger Food Drive began last month, and runs through Dec. 31.
Close to $5,000 in proceeds raised from the drive in Henry County will be donated to local-area Second Harvest food banks.
In years past, donors dropped canned goods directly into bins at the front doors of the stores, but this year, Kroger provides reusable, prepackaged grocery bags shoppers may purchase for a $10 donation. In addition, shoppers may also give $1 or $5 donations to purchase a paper "Can Hunger" icon.
Every $10 donation provides 10 meals, said Glynn Jenkins, Kroger spokesperson. "The Henry County stores, at this point, have raised in excess of $4,800," he added.
Kroger stores have a new, environmentally-friendly theme for this year's campaign. "We're really going green this year," he said. "That's our theme, reuse and reduce hunger."
Designing the reusable food bag was an effort to reach out to customers, while providing them with a way to protect the planet.
The participating stores in Henry are on Georgia Highway 138 and Hudson Bridge Road in Stockbridge, Price Quarters and Jonesboro roads in McDonough, and Fairview Road in Ellenwood.
"We kick it off right around Thanksgiving and go from there," said Jim Pusateri, manager of the Highway 138 store. "I think we're over $1,500 in donations,"
Jennifer Kuller, a manager at the Kroger on Jonesboro Road, stressed the ease with which donations can be made by shoppers giving canned goods, or giving cash to a cashier at the checkout counter or the customer service desk.
Mike Cayhill, manager at the Price Quarters Road store, said the prepackaged bags, or the paper icons, are an improvement over canned goods, because the canned product could get dented and damaged.