CINCINNATI, Sept. 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) today announced that the company has donated 175 million meals from fresh meat, produce, dairy and bakery items to Feeding America food banks since 2008 through its groundbreaking Perishable Donations Partnership. The program has also enabled Kroger to divert more than 100,000 tons of waste away from landfills and incinerators. As a founding partner of Feeding America, the nation's largest domestic hunger agency, Kroger has been engaged in the hunger relief effort for more than 30 years. Today, the Kroger family of stores has longstanding relationships with more than 80 local food banks. "Kroger's number one community priority is to support organizations that bring food and hope to our neighbors in need," said Lynn Marmer, Kroger's group vice president of corporate affairs. "With one in six Americans unsure where their next meal will come from, our store associates are leading the charge to deliver fresh nutritious items like healthy fruits and vegetables to Feeding America's network of food banks." Perishable donations have steadily increased as a share of Kroger's total contributions to food banks. In 2012 alone, Kroger donated the equivalent of 200 million meals – 4 million meals every week – in food and funds. The Perishable Donations Partnership contributed 40.8 million fresh meals to the total in 2012, up from 11.7 million in 2008. Kroger's Food Rescue Program a Model for Industry Scaled across Kroger's family of stores beginning in 2008, Kroger's Perishable Donations Partnership program depends on store associates taking the time every day to identify meat, produce, dairy and bakery items that can no longer be sold yet remain safe, fresh and nutritious complements to dry goods donations to food banks. Kroger shared its innovative program with the rest of the retail food industry through the Feeding America network.