Nearly 100 volunteers braved cold temperatures Saturday morning to do their part in making sure area families in need will have enough to eat during this holiday season.
The Southern Illinois Central Labor Council teamed up with Kroger, continuing a longstanding commitment to local food pantries throughout Southern Illinois again this year. The partnership was created over two decades ago and has provided well over $300,000 to families in need of assistance during the holidays.
Under the partnership, Kroger provides a donation of 50 cents on the dollar for funds raised by the SICLC. The annual donations have provided over $1,000 in Kroger items to each of 18 food pantries in the 16 southern-most Illinois counties.
"We expect to be able to provide over $24,000 worth of product to Southern Illinois food pantries this year," said SICLC president Jason Woolard. "They always tell us that is much needed for their ability to provide service in their communities."
Demitri Lacy is the store manager for Marion Kroger.
"I coordinated getting the trailer here and the products ordered," she said. Employees from her store also helped with the project. Rod Zelasko and Wesley Tartt, both members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 881 joined the efforts of the SICLC.
"We are very fortunate for the jobs and benefits we have," said Zelasko. "We just want to give back to people less fortunate than us.
Tartt echoed his statement.
"This is the right season," he said. "This is all of us giving back to our community that supports us and supports labor."