Colleen Juergensen, President of Kroger Central Division, described the donation as a blend of Kroger’s hunger relief plan, Zero Hunger | Zero Waste, with the nationally recognized care provided at Riley. “It may be an essential resource to patient families and to hospital staff members who need help providing the nutritional needs of their families,” Juergensen said. “That need may be especially challenging when a child’s medical treatment demands foods that might be hard to find or hard to afford. We hope our donation overcomes that hurdle and enhances the recovery of the young patients.”
Gil Peri, President of Riley Children’s Health, said the pantry has already served more than 150 team members and 500 patient families from 75 unique zip codes in Indiana. Peri thanked Kroger for boosting the pantry’s ability to provide fresh and non-perishable products. With pantry clients coming from 15 different countries of origin, the Riley Food Pantry “collaborates to obtain input and work to stock the pantry with culturally responsive foods” for pantry clients.
Liz Elkas, President and CEO of Riley Children’s Foundation, thanked Kroger for today’s contribution and for its “stalwart support of Riley for the past 30 years. They have committed $3 million during that time, with a majority of their funding benefiting the most urgent needs of the hospital.” Elkas also commended Kroger as “a phenomenal partner for and generous supporter of our Riley Champions program. Every year, through a committee of hospital leaders, approximately 10 children are selected from across Indiana as ambassadors for Riley. These diverse Champions represent many communities from around the state, as well as a range of childhood illnesses and diseases. Thank you again, Kroger, and cheers to many more years of great partnership!”
Following the presentation, event participants and a team from Kroger Delivery packed a Kroger Delivery van with a variety of foods selected by the pantry manager and delivered the groceries to the hospital.
“Everyone knows the life-changing work of Riley. If you don’t have a child who received treatment there, you probably know a family who did,” Juergensen said, “and Kroger is proud to support this example of the innovative care available at Riley Hospital for Children.”