Kroger,USO Honor Service Members

In time for USO’s 7oth anniversary lifting the morale of American troops, Kroger launches a fundraising campaign and donates $400,000 to the effort.

The Kroger Co. and the USO are expanding their partnership with a new campaign to support men and women in the armed forces and their families.

As part of the Daytona 500 celebration on Sunday, Feb. 20, Kroger is launching a year-long initiative to raise funds for members of the U.S. armed forces in partnership with the USO, the leading organization for morale-boosting programs and services for American troops and their families.

The campaign is set to include in-store and online promotions and a text-to-give campaign that encourages Kroger customers to text “USO” to 27722 during the race to donate $10 to USO programs.

Kroger also plans to present a $400,000 donation to the USO on Sunday. These funds were collected in 2010 from customers and associates at nearly 1,300 Kroger-operated supermarkets across the country, including Kroger, Ralphs, Food 4 Less, Dillon’s and Baker’s stores. This donation will support USO programs serving members of the military, wounded warriors and their families.

“This is an exciting time for the USO as we celebrate the 70th anniversary of lifting the spirits of America’s troops and their families,” said USO President Sloan Gibson. “We’re committed to providing the wide array of services needed to support our troops and their families, so we’re thrilled to join this partnership with Kroger.”

Kroger and USO executives will be joined at the Daytona 500 celebration by Juan Cortes, a Kroger associate and Lt. Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve.

“Lt. Commander Cortes is one of hundreds of men and women who have served in the armed forces while working for Kroger,” said Lynn Marmer, group vice president of Corporate Affairs for Kroger. “On behalf of our Kroger family, we thank all of our associates in the military for their service to our country, our communities and our company. We are eager to work with the USO this year to support even more men and women who serve with courage and honor.”

As a special tribute to its associates in the military, Kroger, the USO and JTG Daugherty Racing will unveil a special Kroger emblem on the red, white and blue No. 47 Kroger-USO car, driven by NASCAR champion Bobby Labonte. This emblem features the names of more than 350 Kroger associates who are active duty or reservist members of the U.S. military.

“It is such a privilege to be able to have a small part in thanking the men and women in uniform for the service they provide to our country and communities to keep us safe,” Labonte said. “I’m proud to carry the USO logo on our Toyota Camry. It’s pretty special for all of us at JTG Daugherty Racing to be able to do that thanks to Kroger and all of our partners behind this program.”

Kroger is the exclusive retail partner for the Daytona 500.

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