More than $60,000 in checks were handed out Monday morning at the Food City location in Gray, with all recipients making strong local pushes in conjunction with the grocery store’s Race Against Hunger holiday promotion.

Representatives from the Johnson City Press, Good Samaritan Ministries Inc., Gray Community Chest, Haven of Mercy Ministries, Boone Trail Baptist Church, the Salvation Army of Johnson City and Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee were all present to receive portions of $67,500 from Food City’s fund drive.

Kellogg’s is a co-sponsor of the promotion, but a portion of this money is coming from people in the community who shop at Food City and went to help those who might otherwise go hungry.

At the checkout counters of the grocery store’s locations, customers could buy either $1, $3 or $5 scanable cards, with that dollar amount added to their grocery bill. All these benefits went into the checks that were handed out Monday.

Gray Community Chest and Good Samaritan Ministries Inc., were given $11,000 checks. Second Harvest was given $7,000. Haven of Mercy Ministries was given $4,000. Boone Trail Baptist Church received $3,500. Salvation Army of Johnson City was given $3,000 and the Johnson City Press was given $2,000 for its Christmas Box program.

Former Press publisher Art Powers, who received the check for the newspaper’s program, said that $2,000 will make a serious positive impact on the lives of about 20 families. Powers was impressed with Food City and its willingness to help the hungry of the area.

“This is a continuation of what a great local company Food City is,” he said.

Food City President and CEO Steven C. Smith explained why this promotion matters.

“Hunger is a serious problem throughout our region,” he said. “Food City and Kellogg’s are proud to be a part of the ‘Race Against Hunger.’”

He went on to thank the customers who took extra dollars from their pockets to help their neighbors.

“We would like to thank Kellogg’s and our loyal customers for helping make this promotion such a huge success,” Smith said. “Their generosity will help feed thousands of our friends and neighbors in need throughout the region.”

Powers said he’s also seeing strong momentum moving into next year, too, and it shows a strength in the communal willingness to help.

The program has been in place since 1992, and in 2015-2016 alone, just shy of $400,000 was raised for the effort.

Email Tony Casey at tcasey@johnsoncitypress.com. Follow Tony Casey on Twitter @TonyCaseyJCP. Like him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/tonycaseyjournalist.

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