Cincinnati-based The Kroger Co. has named 10,310 students across America as Zero Hero award winners through its “Zero Hunger | Zero Waste” youth engagement program.
The honorees took action during the 2022-23 school year to help fight hunger and waste and advance the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals: Zero Hunger and Responsible Consumption and Production. They completed 78,800 volunteer hours, generating a community impact value of $2.5 million.
Denise Osterhues, Kroger’s senior director of sustainability and social impact, said in a statement that the company was “so incredibly proud of and inspired by the passion of these students and their commitment.”
“The work to serve our communities and help protect our planet will not be achieved by a single generation – it will take all of us,” she said. “We are thrilled to have Kroger’s Zero Heroes across the country leading the way. May their dedication be an example to everyone that we can make a big difference through service and everyday actions.”
The retailer developed the youth engagement program in 2019 in collaboration with InnerView, a platform to empower student volunteers. It is offered to all students ages 14 to 24 in the U.S.
InnerView offers paths for students to explore volunteer opportunities, capture service activities, develop skills through impact-driven projects and demonstrate community impact aligned with the UN’s goals.
Through the program, students earn awards and develop a personal service résumé detailing their hours of service and areas of positive social impact.
Sample activities include volunteering at a soup kitchen, packing meals at a food bank, helping with a food drive or starting a school food pantry.
This year, Kroger created a 15-member Youth Advisory Council of student leaders across the U.S. who invested time and talent into issues such as hunger, climate and responsible consumption and recycling.
Each student participated in collaborative sessions with guest speakers, discussions on Zero Hunger | Zero Waste and design challenges to create a community impact project, supported by a micro-grant from Kroger.