GOSHEN — The shelves are empty at the Kroger in Goshen, but the carts are full – not for shopping, but for donating.
“We can take something that was pretty devastating for the local community, and we can turn it positive,” Kroger district manager Todd Graham said.
Like most of Goshen, the Kroger was devastated by last week’s flooding, and is closed indefinitely. But what to do about all the food and supplies inside? The people at Kroger decided to donate everything that survived to the Food Bank of Northern Indiana.
“We’re part of the community and this is an easy way for us for us to give back,” Graham said. “Unfortunately we had to throw away some of our product, and a lot of the product that is still in the store is good, but moving it, cleaning it, the food bank is going to be able to do that, and we’re going to be able to help feed lots of needy families in the Northern Indiana community.”
Employees and volunteers filled five semis full of food and supplies, and people at the food bank estimated it could be as much as 150,000 lbs. of goods.
“How many people can we help in our six counties and in our community?” Oscar Gibson, warehouse manager for the Food Bank of Northern Indiana, said. “It’s going to be great to be able to get this into someone’s hands. It’s food people don’t have. It’s going to be great working with Kroger’s and getting this out into the community.”
The food bank said it will be the biggest donation they have ever received, and at a critical point in the year.
“Usually after the holidays things slow down a little bit,” Gibson said. “But this is really going to have a good boost in our community.”
After a week of nothing but negative, finally some good.
“It uplifted all of our associates today,” Graham said. “Put them in a good mood, a little oomph in their step today because they knew they were helping people out today.”
As for the store itself, it is indefinitely closed. Graham said they will rebuild, but there is no timetable for when it will reopen again.
The employees meanwhile were helping pack up the donations Tuesday, and will be given hours at other local stores so they can keep a steady paycheck coming in.