INDIANAPOLIS, IN – December 10th – The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) has announced an innovative partnership that will bring free flu shots to thousands of eligible individuals.   Beginning today, Kroger is making free flu shot vouchers available to The Salvation Army and Feeding America, the nation’s leading domestic hunger relief organization.  Uninsured or underinsured shoppers in areas with a Kroger pharmacy are eligible.  Customers who wish to obtain a voucher should visit The Salvation Army or Feeding America food bank location in their community.  All 123 pharmacies in Kroger Central Division will participate.  Kroger pharmacists will administer the flu shots.

Each year in the United States, on average 5 to 20 percent of the population gets the flu; more than 200,000 individuals are hospitalized from flu-related complications; and about 36,000 people die from flu-related causes.  In its commitment to promote health and wellness, Kroger provides more than a million flu shots to families across the U.S. each year.

Kroger Central Division Public Affairs Manager John Elliott said, “We’re proud of the role our pharmacists play in keeping our customers healthy, combining healthcare, wellness, nutrition and the manufacture of our Kroger brand products into a comprehensive program benefiting both customers and associates.  We are equally proud of the way our pharmacists step forward to volunteer their time and talent in each local community we serve.  Kroger Central Division has long partnerships with the Feeding America food banks, local food pantries and other service agencies such as the Salvation Army.  Our donating flu shots is a logical next step in growing these long-term, mutually-beneficial community service partnerships.  By helping our food bank partners and the Salvation Army, we also help our associates and our customers.  In times of need, they are there for the local communities we serve and we should be there for them.”

“The Salvation Army is delighted to partner with Kroger to help protect thousands of people that may not have access to a flu shot, including patients for whom cost may be an issue,” said Major George Hood, National Community Relations and Development Secretary for The Salvation Army.

Once again this year, 139 local Kroger, Scott’s and Owen’s stores are supporting the Salvation Army’s “Red Kettle Campaign.”  In 2009, the campaign raised $554,509 in Central Division Kroger stores and Kroger officials are optimistic the campaign will raise even more in 2010.  Local Kroger, Scott’s and Owens store associates are reinforcing Salvation Army volunteers in some communities, trying to enhance the campaign’s success.  Kroger is a major supporter of the Salvation Army across the United States, helping them raise 8% of the total raised during the “Red Kettle Campaign.”

The Kroger Co. has been serving local communities for 127 years.  Kroger Central Division has 149 food stores, 123 pharmacies and 60 fuel centers operating under five banners; Kroger, Scott’s, Owen’s, Hilander and Pay Less, with locations primarily in Indiana and Illinois, in addition to five stores in Missouri, one in Michigan and one in Ohio.  Kroger Central Division is dedicated to supporting every local community it serves, contributing more than $11.7 million annually to local organizations, primarily focusing on hunger relief, K-12 education, health causes and diversity.  At Kroger we value:  honesty, respect, inclusion, diversity, safety and integrity.