By Valerie Baldowski
Kroger stores throughout the Southern Crescent are catching "shamrock fever" to support the Muscular Dystrophy Association's annual Shamrocks Against Dystrophy campaign.
Shoppers visiting Kroger can participate in the fund-raiser by purchasing a $1 green shamrock, or a $5 gold shamrock, at the stores' checkout registers.
This year, the goal for Kroger's Atlanta division is to raise $410,000 for the MDA. Kroger Spokesman Glynn Jenkins said the stores are making progress in their fund-raising efforts.
"As a division, we've raised over $91,000 toward our goal," said Jenkins. "We're doing fairly well for the first few days." The amount of money the stores raised changes daily as more donations are calculated, he said.
The campaign kicked off Sunday, and runs through April 4.
Kroger has partnered with the MDA for eight years, Jenkins said. This year, he said, the economic downturn is a factor in charitable fund-raising. "We do recognize families are experiencing the challenges with the economy today."
Linda Jackson, an assistant manager for Kroger on Jonesboro Road in McDonough, is enthusiastic about the donations to MDA her store has received from shoppers.
"They're giving pretty good," she said. "We're excited."
The St. Patrick's fund-raiser is getting strong community support this year, the assistant manager said.
"It's one of our favorites," she said. "It's for a good cause."
The store's employees are upbeat about the number of shamrocks customers have bought.
"We've sold 955 thus far," said clerk Denise Mitchum. "Other stores started a week before us, and we're ahead of them."
Each year during the event, Mitchum said, sales of shamrocks typically start off briskly, then slack off. Taking into account the sluggish economy this year, she said, sales are strong. "Our store has always done really well," she said.
Mike Cahill, the general manager for Kroger on Price Quarters Road in McDonough, also is seeing a good response from customers.
"It's going very well," he said. "Most people are very generous, if it's a cause they've been touched by."
In addition to supporting the MDA, he said, Kroger has always been willing to participate in various other community outreach programs. "It's a great way to help out all different organizations," he said.