One byproduct of the COVID-19 pandemic is the opportunity for companies and their leadership to demonstrate their values in a time of crisis. Among the c-stores that have stepped up is Des Moines, Iowa-based Kum & Go, which operates 400 stores in 11 states.
Last week, Kum & Go Chairman and CEO Kyle Krause outlined measures the company is taking in a statement addressed to the “Kum & Go family.”
In addition to sanitation and foodservice changes, Krause said the company will cover the cost of COVID-19 testing for any of its 5,000 employees and compensate them if they have to self-quarantine for the mandated 14 days.
“As a fourth-generation, family-run company, there’s only one question that matters to us: Are we living our values? In moments like these, that question has never been more important,” he said. “We will continue to work every day to make sure we can answer with it a resounding ‘yes.'”
Food Rescue Program
Kum & Go’s parent company, Krause Group, operates by four pillars of social responsibility outlined in its annual social responsibility report that guide its operating philosophy: purpose-based, people first, planet and philanthropy.
Among its contributions, Kum & Go operates a Food Rescue Program that aims to address and reduce the amount of food waste in Kum & Go’s communities.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), food waste is estimated at between 30-40% of the food supply in the U.S. This estimate, based on USDA’s Economic Research Service of 31% food loss at the retail and consumer levels, corresponded to approximately 133 billion pounds and $161 billion worth of food in 2010.
Two or three times per week, drivers from local nonprofits make morning rounds to Kum & Go stores to collect boxes that have been set aside with fresh, high-quality food, which is then distributed to those in need. 301 Kum & Go stores now participate in the program, some of which move more than 9,500 pounds of food per week.
Kum & Go Director of Communications Ariel Rubin said there’s an even greater need for the program during the COVID-19 pandemic, due to schools closing and higher-risk people being unable to go to the store. He said everyone is working around the clock to ensure food gets to the people who need it.
“A few agencies we have spoken with said the food is flying off the shelves, and with the food banks stretched as well, this helps greatly to help bridge that gap,” said Rubin. “We are working overtime with the food banks to figure out solutions to make sure this fresh, leftover, unsold food does not go to waste.”