Here’s how to get a free Pantry Starter Kit from Blue Star Families and Whole Foods


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

52 Comments

  1. The idea is nice and a recently Pcs’ed so could use the help. Can’t find anything on bluestarfam.org 🙁

    1. Did you click on the link where it says to click here to see if you live near a Whole Foods that’s doing this?

      1. I did, signed up through bluestar families and now get annoying emails everyday but, Nothing about the pantry starter pack. Very disappointing. 😞

          1. That’s my experience, too. Haven’t seen an email saying our local Whole Foods is participating, but get plenty of other BSF emails.

  2. This is amazing! We live in rural Montana and so there are no Whole Foods stores close by but when I can I will be supporting Whole Foods. As a former military wife and a current military mom I thank you!

  3. Would be great if recent retired families were also included. The cost is out of this world to relocate with the military no longer providing the normal
    PCS financial assistance . The financial assistance you get you get once the retirement date is reached not while you relocate ..

  4. Great idea! I bet Amazon could hook people up with their stuff from their Online Prime Pantry since they own Whole Foods now too. They should be able to supplement for those not around a WF store.

    1. Except that anyone could order through Amazon and say they were military. To pick up in store you have to show military ID. That would be nice though! We just did our final PCS with the Navy from an overseas tour and my pantry is BARE! At least we get to settle for a bit until he goes back in (Army this time) and the moving starts all over again!

      1. Actually Amazon could partipate as they could use verification that many companies utlize when marketing promotions, etc to millitary. ID me is pretty popular but there are others like SheerID.

  5. We just PCS’d to Macdill from Maxwell in AL. This is such an amazing program! We had to give away everything as it would not make it in our move . I’m really hoping to receive an email to pick up starter pantry kit. Thank you again for all that you do for Military families!

      1. Welcome to the Tampa area! Hope you love it here as much as we do. Retired AF family and Mom of AF Lt.

  6. This is awesome!! Finally someone has come up with this to help us out!!! PCSing is very costly especially when you can’t take all your house hold items. Thank you!!! Hopefully you will have this in March when we PCS!!!

  7. I just filled out the form. Waiting for confirmation. I just spent $150 at the commissary. This could help rebuild our pantry. I hope the WF nearby participates!

  8. This is amazing
    I have never heard of this before and it could be so helpful with our large family and having to restock everything !! How incredible is this for military families.

  9. That is a wonderful idea,but what about those families that don’t have a Whole Foods near them or driving distance to make it worth it?

  10. We just moved and it cost $230 just to restock which didn’t include cleaning solutions and paper products. Even though we receive allowances during a move, costs add up quickly within the first month of arriving at a new area. Add to that, price variances in regions and costs to re-establish your family after a PCS move can sky rocket. This story could use more traction and other business should adopt similar programs. Many thanks to Bluestar Families and Whole Foods for spearheading this greatly needed appreciation program!

  11. I signed up last week. I have yet to receive can email back as well! Just pcs’d and Whole Foods is close by! I could really use it!!

  12. It’s been more than 48 hours and still no confirmation email. We know that there’s a Whole Foods near our new home but we’ve only received emails from Blue Star that are completely unrelated. I was hoping for the kit…not spam from Blue Star.

  13. It’s been days since I filled out the form and all I get is other emails from BSF and nothing about the pantry. I’m super disappointed.

  14. If you didn’t get an email in 48 hours your local whole foods is not participating. If you’re curious just call your local store and ask. Our local store is not participating.

  15. Yep. I think it may be a blue star hoax. Currently in the middle of a pcs and this would help greatly but no confirmation and it’s been days.
    I wish they wouldn’t do things like this.

  16. I’m skeptical of this- doesn’t sound like it’s worked for anyone. I signed up a week ago and have heard nothing.

  17. I sent the link to this article to whole foods customer service …maybe if everyone does we will get an answer

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