Tough times and rising demand have created challenges for Feeding America Southwest Virginia, but this week the food bank has reason to celebrate.  Friday, the organization recognized a partnership that's bringing in millions of pounds of food and providing more room for volunteers.
 
The food bank dedicated the Kroger Volunteer Center, renovated space at its Salem distribution center that was funded with a 70-thousand dollar grant from the grocery chain.

Kroger has also increased donations of food, sending products to the food bank it can't sell in its stores.

Geoff Covert is a Kroger Senior Vice President. "We used to take all the damaged product that's still good to eat and send it back to reclaim centers, and then send it back to vendors for credit," Covert said.  "Most of the vendors throw it out, so... the best way to do it is eliminate the middleman, go straight from our warehouse to the food bank and let the food banks help us sort it. Then they get to keep it and donate it."
 
Kroger also provided the trimmings for 200 Thanksgiving dinners the food bank distributed Friday.
The food supplier Cargill donated the turkeys that went to clients of the food bank's partner feeding programs.