Every day, our customers turn to the Kroger family of stores for help in putting fresh, wholesome food on their family tables. We know that meals matter. Kroger's commitment to feeding people extends beyond what we offer in our stores. Last year, we donated the equivalent of 276 million meals to local food banks and agencies, bringing help and hope to our hungry neighbors.
Fighting hunger has always been—and remains—our #1 community priority. A founding partner of Feeding America®, the nation's largest domestic hunger agency, we work with more than 100 local food banks, and have for more than 30 years. Kroger is among the top tier of donors to Feeding America.
Last year, our family of stores contributed 83 million pounds of food and other products to our local food banks.
These critical product donations are supplemented by financial support from a variety of programs throughout the year. Kroger contributes $3 million to assist Feeding America and its local member food banks during Bringing Hope to the Table, the company's annual hunger awareness campaign, which runs during the holiday season.
Last year, the Kroger Co. Foundation and the company's retail divisions provided an additional $2 million in grants to assist local hunger agencies. And our stores offer easy ways for customers and associates to help their neighbors in need. Tens of thousands of small donations added up to more than $15 million to local hunger relief programs, during the holidays and at other key times of the year.
PERISHABLE DONATIONS PARTNERSHIP
When it comes to nutritional content, all food is not created equal. Through Kroger's industry-leading Perishable Donations Partnership (PDP), safe, wholesome meat, produce, eggs and dairy products are donated to local food banks that have the capacity to safely handle and distribute fresh food. As a result of Kroger's work and our partnership with Feeding America, many other national and regional retailers now also donate perishable products to local food banks.
In 2015, 56 million pounds of fresh food—the equivalent of more than 46 million meals—was donated by our stores to local food banks. It takes the dedication and consistent execution of thousands of our associates to make this happen. Working in tandem with our internal food safety experts, we continuously look for opportunities to add new categories of fresh product that can be donated safely through the program.
Kroger's "donate all" model extends to a leading reclamation process as well. Our store associates, retail operations leaders and 14 food bank partners all work together to increase the amount of food and health and beauty products distributed to families in need. Once sell-through options have been exhausted, unsalable but safe food is sent to processing centers operated by food banks. Using software and training provided by Kroger, these processing centers discard the trash, obtain the data needed to process vendor payments or credits due to the company, and then distribute the edible and safe food to food pantries that serve hungry people. Previously, this process was performed by a third party and it was expensive, cumbersome, and food banks received no benefit.
Kroger continues to add partners and product to this unique model. Additions in 2015 include the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee (serving 60 metro Nashville stores) and Dare to Care in Louisville, Kentucky. An apparel donation initiative was launched in the fall of 2015. Through collaboration with the apparel team, a strategy was identified to sell through all seasonal apparel and send residual merchandise to the food bank reclamation centers during the Christmas holiday season.