18th Annual WSOY Food Drive Announced

18th Annual WSOY Food Drive Announced

September 5, 2019– The 18th Annual WSOY Community Food Drive to help stock local food pantries will be held on Friday, October 4th at the Airport Plaza Kroger grocery store in Decatur (more details).

Details of the event were announced Thursday morning during a news conference at St Pats School. Last year, the drive collected 1.5 million pounds of food during the 12-hour event.  St Pats was the winning school from last year, raising over 250,000 pounds of food.

People are encouraged to give non-perishable goods or make monetary donations. Giving non-perishable canned goods allows for safe offsite storage helps the supply to last as long as possible.

“We want everyone to give and there’s a way for everyone to give,” said Brian Byers, Vice President of Development for Neuhoff Media and host of Byers & Co. on WSOY. “But we want to heavily concentrate on non-perishable goods and cash or check or credit card donations. We’re running into storage problems and running into perishable goods expiring.”

Through monetary donations, food banks are able to purchase goods on an as needed basis and at a tremendous discount through the Central Illinois Foodbank.

The food drive itself has come a long way as well, collected more than 10.8 million pounds of food over the past 17 years. Byers said the 35,000 pounds collected in the first year was dwarfed by last year’s 1.5 million.

Groups assisted last year were: Catholic Charities Food Pantry, The Salvation Army Food Pantry, Good Samaritan Inn, Northeast Community Fund, The Judy Mason Thanksgiving Basket Project, Extended Hands/Reasonable Services, Crossing Healthcare Prescription Gardens, The Grayson Basket Project, Big Blue Backpacks, Mt Zion Food Pantry, AMELCA, Helping Hands Food Pantry, Moundford Food Pantry, Gods Shelter of Love, Blue Mound Food Pantry and the Cops and Gobblers Program.  

WSOY’s community partners for the food drive are: ADM; First Mid Bank and Trust,  J.L. Hubbard Insurance and Bonds (A First Mid Insurance Group); Skeff Distributing; Jones & Thomas/JTnet; Decatur Back & Neck Center; Tickets N Trips; First Christian Church; Dale’s Southlake Pharmacy & Colee’s Corner Drugs; DynaGraphics/Wood Printing; The United Way, Kroger; The Herald & Review; and WAND-TV.

Once again, cash prizes will go to the top five local schools that collect the most food. Individuals and groups can collect food ahead of time or come out to Kroger that day and donate food or cash in the name of a particular school.

All Macon County Schools grades K-12 are eligible to participate. Prizes are $2,500 for first place, $1,500 for second, $1,000 for third, $750 for fourth and $500 for fifth. Cash donations are converted to pounds and end up weighing more than food donations, so schools are also encouraged to concentrate on canned goods and cash.

Byers said the proceeds from the food drive start serving the community right away.

“It’s not just throwing money at a problem,” he said. “You know you can go to bed that Friday night and Saturday morning food’s going to go to families or hungry children in this community. It immediately goes to work the next day.”

For more information, contact: Overall questions – Lindsay Romano at 217-423-9744; Questions about getting your school involved – Pete Vercellino at 217-520-5098; Questions about getting your company involved – Karin Betzer at 217-877-3344; Questions regarding volunteering  – Debbie Bogle 217-422-8537

How to help the 18th Annual WSOY Community Food Drive:

Participate by making a monetary donation. Checks can be made to “WSOY Community Food Drive”. (Tax deductible donations should be made to The United Way c/o WSOY Community Food drive.)

  • Companies and organizations interested in participating can call to sign up to have “how to” package delivered. This package will include fliers and grocery bags to send home with their employees to fill up and bring back to work. These bags will then need to be delivered to Kroger the day of the food drive (pick-up service is available). These donations will also be designated to individual schools.
  • Consider an employee match contribution.
  • If your business has a marquee, show your support by displaying “WSOY Community Food Drive, October 4th, 2019. 6am-6pm Kroger Rt. 36 East”
  • Assist by donating an hourly incentive such as sporting event tickets and gift cards to use as giveaways to encourage giving.
  • Let us know if your company is doing a special promotion or fundraiser for the food drive so we can share it. You can email details to lindsayromano@neuhoffmedia.com
Illinois Not Impacted By Kroger Shrimp Recall

Illinois Not Impacted By Kroger Shrimp Recall

December 28 – Kroger has recalled shrimp products due to possible contamination from under-cooking, but Illinois consumers have no need to worry.

Kroger spokesman Eric Halvorson clarified that the products identified in the recall were not shipped to Central Division stores in Illinois and Indiana.

The shrimp was distributed at stores across Michigan, Ohio and Virginia. The company said the packaged shrimp is raw or undercooked, raising the risk of food-borne illness.

Kroger Presents $1K Check to Salvation Army

Kroger Presents $1K Check to Salvation Army

December 13 – As part of a holiday tradition, The Kroger Company’s Central Division presented a $1,000 check Thursday to the Salvation Army red kettle at the Airport Plaza store.

Salvation Army director Major Greg Voeller accepted the presentation by hand. The contribution was among a series of $1,000 donations made by Kroger for a total of $15,000.

“Kroger and The Salvation Army are natural partners, especially since we launched the Zero Hunger- Zero Waste plan to eliminate hunger in Kroger communities,” said Pam Matthews, president of Kroger’s Central Division. “That ambitious goal is matched by the 24/7 service provided by members of The Salvation Army. We are honored to work with them to serve the communities we share.”

Kyle Karsten, director of development and community relations for the Salvation Army of Decatur, called the partnership with Kroger “amazing in so many ways.”

“It is especially amazing during the months of Christmas,” he said. “We thank them for opening up their doors for Red Kettle Bell Ringing, which helps us raise money to help those in need during Christmas and all year long.”

Kroger Thrilled With Food Drive, Donates $15K

Kroger Thrilled With Food Drive, Donates $15K

October 5 – Kroger enjoys getting the opportunity to play a big role in the annual WSOY Community Food Drive, with the store on East U.S. 36 serving as the host location.

“This is such a terrific local event,” said Kroger spokesman Eric Halvorson. “The people here 17 years ago were part of it when the program began, and we’ve tried to grow with the Food Drive. It’s such a tremendous expression of generosity on the part of the people of Decatur.”

Halvorson said helping provide food for those in need fits in with the company’s goals.

“Kroger has a program called “Zero Hunger, Zero Waste” and we are expanding our commitment to hunger relief around the country,” he said. “It’s a natural partnership for us to be part of this and expand as the food drive does.”

Kroger presented a donation totaling $15,000 to the Food Drive, with three equal contributions going to Catholic Charities, the Salvation Army, and Crossing Healthcare for its prescription produce program.

“We think it’s such a tremendous addition to the lifestyle and promoting healthy living for the people who are being served,” said Halvorson. “We wanted to make that one additional piece of our donation today.”

Halvorson said he would like to see the success of the WSOY Community Food Drive inspire similar charitable action in other Kroger communities.

“This is such a big deal in Decatur, I would like to see if maybe some of the radio stations in Indianapolis could pick up on it,” he said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if people see how much you guys have improved life here in Decatur that they could be inspired by your achievements to do something similar.”

Supporters Rally for the Fairview Plaza Kroger Store

Supporters Rally for the Fairview Plaza Kroger Store

August 7 – A crowd of over 50 people braved the threat of rain to line Route 48 east of Fairview Plaza Tuesday evening to rally support for “their neighborhood grocery store”.

Less than a week ago, Kroger’s Central Division announced that the Fairview Plaza store would be closing at the end of the month. The company said they had hoped the store could return to profitability, however had determined it was no longer realistic to continue to operate the location. The company praised the employees and said human resources would strive to find them positions at the other 3 Kroger locations in Decatur.

Residents in the western part of the city that frequent the store have been dismayed at the announcement of the stores closure, and showed their desire for the company to keep the store opening by organizing a “Save Our Store Rally” Tuesday evening.

One of the rally organizers and frequent shopper, Abi McIntosh said she was shocked when she found out store was closing. After living in the country, she said she enjoyed the convenience of having to drive less than 5 minutes to get food, and while she could drive farther, she said other people can’t.

“Other people in this community don’t have that option. They don’t have a car. Millikin students often don’t have cars, they have to walk or take the bus and get their groceries somewhere else. So that leaves a hole in this community.”

McIntosh said there seems to be measures the company could have implemented before closing. Things such as limiting the stores’ hours and putting in better security measures. She says things that would be more viable than closing the store altogether.

With the rally, McIntosh says she hopes the company sees that the store is valued and appreciated and frequented by many people and that they hear that the community is crying out, that they want a store here and they want to keep Kroger here.

The Kroger location is one of the original tenants of Fairview Plaza.

Kroger to Close Fairview Plaza Location in Decatur

Kroger to Close Fairview Plaza Location in Decatur

August 2 – Kroger’s Central Division announced Thursday the decision to close the Fairview Plaza store in Decatur.  Kroger has long monitored operations of the store, hoping it could return to profitability; however, recent evaluations suggest such improvement is no longer realistic.  So, with the lease due to expire, the store will cease operations by the end of August.  The fuel center will also close.

Customers will be able to shop, fill prescriptions and get fuel at the other Kroger stores in the area.  Two stores, Brettwood Village with the fuel center and South Shore are approximately 3 miles from the King Street store.

Members of the Kroger Human Resources Department will use the remaining weeks to answer questions and help the approximately 95 associates prepare for the transition.  The HR team will strive to find other positions for the store associates at the other Decatur Kroger stores.

Company leaders praised the associates, saying the closing is not a reflection on them or their work.  The associates have performed extremely well and have been committed to customer service in spite of the business challenges around them.  Kroger will continue to count on their dedication through the coming month.

The Kroger family of companies has been serving communities large and small for 135 years.  Kroger’s Central Division operates food stores, pharmacies and fuel centers primarily in Indiana and Illinois.

Kroger Buying Meal-Kit Brand Home Chef for $200M

Kroger Buying Meal-Kit Brand Home Chef for $200M

Associated Press

May 24 – Kroger, looking to take a bigger bite of the online grocery market, is buying meal-kit seller Home Chef.

Home Chef, like other meal-kit companies, sends a box of ingredients and recipes to its subscribers’ doorsteps. Kroger will pay $200 million for Chicago-based Home Chef, and may pay an additional $500 million over five years if sales reach certain milestones. Kroger plans to put Home Chef kits in its supermarkets.

Competition among meal-kit companies is fierce. Albertsons bought Plated last year, Walmart is expanding its easy-to-make dinners, and meal-kit company Blue Apron started selling some of its kits in Costco stores. Amazon, which bought Whole Foods last year, also sells its own meal kits.

Kroger Co., which has 2,800 stores, says it expects the deal to close in the second quarter.