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USO receives $1 million from Kroger; Chef Robert Irvine hosts Fort Stewart troops

Food Network Chef Robert Irvine shares pizza dough rolling tips with Culinary Specialist 1st class Romonn Calhoun aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG 68). Irvine visited several ships stationed at Naval Station Mayport. The U.S. Navy has a 237-year heritage of defending freedom and projecting and protecting U.S. interests around the globe. Join the conversation on social media using #warfighting. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class John Parker/Released)
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Kroger gave a gift that will keep on giving with a $1 million donation to the United Service Organization at Club Stewart on Fort Stewart on Monday afternoon.

Along with donating $1 million to the USO, Kroger also partnered with Chef Robert Irvine and his foundation for a live show for service members and their families as a part of the Honoring Our Heroes event.

Kroger, USO, and Irvine all teamed up to give the service members at Fort Stewart not only full stomachs, but also quality time with their families.

“Kroger has been a supporter of the USO and has donated more than $23 million during the relationship,” Relationship Manager Kirk Parker said. “Kroger aligns with the mission of the USO and wants keep bringing family members and service together.”

USO is an American nonprofit charitable corporation that provides live entertainment, social facilities and other programs to members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families, according to uso.org. The USO is not a government agency; it has stations in both Savannah and Hinesville among the hundreds across the nation.

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The Robert Irvine Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring the men and women who defend our country, according to its robertirvinefoundation.org. First responders and other heroes are celebrated as the foundation’s mission is to support individuals and organizations committed to enriching the lives of heroes and their families.

The Kroger check presentation and Irvine’s live show is a part of Honoring Our Heroes campaign and this year’s culinary event.

“Honoring Our Heroes is our way of saying thank you to our active duty service members and our nation’s 23 million veterans,” Kroger Corporate Affairs Manager for Atlanta’s division Felix Turner said. “To date, Kroger along with our customers and associates, have raised $25 million in support of the USO and this year, Kroger is donating $1 million in corporate funds to the USO.”

The Kroger Co. initiated the Honoring Our Heroes campaign to continue to show the commitment the company has to veterans, military service members and their families, according to honoringourheroes.com. They also launched Community Rewards to give customers the opportunity to contribute to causes that matter to them.

Since 2009, Kroger has hired more than 45,000 service members, according to Turner. The initiative Turner says is to help veterans and transitioning service members find meaningful employment.

“We employ thousands of military service members and their families.”Kroger Corporate Affairs Manager Denise Osterhues said. “These donations help bridge a gap and is a way for us to say thank you.”

After the check presentation, families enjoyed a live show with Irvine that included a cooking demonstration where he chose volunteers from the audience to assist him.

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During one of the cooking demonstrations, Irvine was blindfolded as volunteers from the crowd created a concoction that he would later have to fix. Volunteers also picked what ingredients he could use as a part of the cooking demonstration.

“We are excited to present the $1 million check, and to also partner with Chef Robert Irvine,” Turner said. “After the live show we’ll be able to feed over 1,500 soldiers and their families.”

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© 2019 Savannah Morning News (Savannah, Ga.)

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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