Grocery retailer Whole Foods is partnering with Blue Star Families to help fill the cabinets of recently moved families. To help reduce some of the financial cost of restocking the pantry, local Whole Foods stores have pledged thousands of complimentary Pantry Starter Kits for military families to receive this summer.
While meeting with Jeanne Ludwig, a marketing manager for Whole Foods, Penny Bolden casually mentioned how the little things often add up for military families when they PCS. “One of the things I said was that people don’t realize that when you PCS, you literally purge most of your pantry,” Bolden, the Blue Star Families’ Senior Advisor for Strategic Partnerships, said. Immediately, Ludwig–who is not military-affiliated–wanted to help ease some of that burden.
The idea? A grab bag sponsored by Whole Foods filled with necessary items that often get left behind, eaten, or given away to neighbors before the move. While every bag will have some staples like ketchup, mustard, and olive oil spray, the bags may also contain surprises and regional treats. The Whole Foods team listened to Blue Star Families when constructing the bags, making sure to include items that military families most often need right away. Bolden said the bags will also contain coupons for families to use on their return trips to Whole Foods.
The Pantry Starter Kits initiative took off quickly with multiple stores signing on at the regional level. Not all Whole Foods stores will have the kits available this year, but Bolden hopes that this year’s first campaign will be a success with a high participation rate from military families. “It would be awesome if this [program] could roll out nationally,” she said.
To see if you live near a participating Whole Foods, click here and complete the quick form. Once you do, within 24 to 48 hours, you’ll receive a confirmation email if you live in an area with a participating Whole Foods. Take the confirmation email and your military ID to customer service to pick up your kit. If you’re unable to pick up a kit, update your zip code to be entered in a drawing for a free $200 Whole Foods gift card.
If you’re not able to pick up a kit– or if you really love unboxing videos– Bolden will be sharing her visit to Whole Foods and exploring what’s in a Pantry Starter Kit on Blue Star Families’ page using Facebook Live today, starting at 2 PM EST.
By J.G. Noll