Kroger stores, USO team up to honor heroes

CONYERS -- Kroger grocery stores and the USO are teaming up this month to thank those serving in the Armed Forces and their families through the "Honoring Our Heroes Project."

Mary Lou Austin, chief executive officer of the USO of Georgia, said every Kroger store in Georgia and stores in Alabama, Tennessee and South Carolina are participating in the project in which Kroger shoppers will be asked to "round up" their grocery bills to the nearest dollar, with the extra funds going to USO services around the world.

Austin said Kroger's goal is to generate $200,000 that will be used for care packages, phone cards, food, refreshments and other services for military personnel.

In addition to donating funds, Kroger shoppers will have an opportunity to contribute to the "Salute Banner" that will be placed in each participating store. Shoppers can take along a picture of a military or veteran "hero" in their family and place it on the banner. "Heroes" can include parents, grandparents, sisters, brothers, friends or others who served or are continuing to serve in the Armed Forces. Those who are still serving are invited to place their own photo on the banner.

Shoppers can also write a note of support or thanks to the troops on post cards that will be provided in the store, where USO representatives will be acting as ambassadors. Austin said these notes will be sent to troops overseas.

Austin said the "Honoring Our Heroes Project" will continue at the 120 Kroger stores in Georgia through July 9.

The USO, or United Service Organizations, was formed in 1941 in support of troops in World War II. The mission of the USO is to lift the spirits of America's troops and their families.