Kroger employee donates to Stockpot

Stockpot board member Secretary/Treasurer Gay Bryant accepts a donation from Kroger employee Johnny Gains and Kroger Palestine Administrative Assistant Stephanie Bragg.

A Palestine Kroger employee, honored for his community service with a corporate donation for his charity of choice, has bestowed $2,000 upon our local soup kitchen, the Stockpot of Palestine.

Through Kroger’s Zero Hunger/Zero Waste program, Johnny Gains was chosen from among employees from over 100 stores in three states based on his community volunteer work to give back and make a social impact.

“Since they feed the hungry in our community, I thought the Stockpot would be the perfect group to donate this money to,” Gains said.

The Stockpot, Palestine's soup kitchen since 1986, is a nonprofit food kitchen run solely on community donations, receiving money and canned goods from private and corporate sources. It also accepts leftover foods from local restaurants and caterers, and vegetables from local gardeners. Its pantry is filled with an array of canned goods, spices, and even baby food for infants brought in with their parents.

According to April Martin, Corporate Affairs Manager, the Zero Hunger/Zero Waste program was created to address the fundamental absurdity in our food system. Martin reported an estimated 40% of the food produced in the U.S. is thrown away, yet one in eight Americas experiences hunger. Kroger’s believes it has the size, reach, expertise and dedicated associates to address this absurdity.

“At Kroger, we have some true community champions among our ranks,” Martin said. “In our communities from coast to coast, they freely give their time and talents to local organization, going the extra mile to make a difference. As trusted partners to hundreds of community organizations, they lift up the hometowns we share.”

During the initial COVID crisis and shutdown February through May, Palestine's Kroger rescued 4,791 pounds of food and donated it to local food banks, including East Texas Food Bank and most recently, Gains’ chosen nonprofit, the Stockpot.

“We are so honored that he would choose us to benefit from his own volunteer and charity work,” said Kerran Link, volunteer director. “This donation will go a long way into helping us feed the community and we couldn’t be more grateful for what that means to the people we serve.”

Five crews dedicate time to prepare lunch one day a week, providing free meals to the community, Monday through Friday.

The Stockpot is open Monday through Friday. At 11 a.m. daily, men, women, and children line up at the back door of the Presbyterian Church's youth building, 410 Avenue A in Palestine, looking for a hot meal. It serves 85 to 120 meals daily, and 1,500 to 2,000 a month.

Lunch is served from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Everyone is welcome at their table. There are no questions asked or requirements to meet. If you are hungry, you are invited to eat.

Volunteers are always needed.

Cash donations, non-perishable food donations, food drives, and leftover prepared foods from local events are other ways the community can help the Stockpot. Hunters can donate their kills. Stockpot also welcomes fresh fruits and vegetables from local gardeners.

Community members or civic organization may drop off donations to the Stockpot from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The Presbyterian Church has donated the use of its Youth Building’s kitchen and dining hall for the weekly meals for 33 years.

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