The Kroger company’s announcement that the Brownwood store will close in early March left its 61 employees in shock — but they’re determined to show their caring spirit one last time.
    That’s the word from Jason McClaughlin, manager of the Brownwood store, as the store prepares to once again partner with Good Samaritan Ministries and participate in the Souper Bowl of Caring.
    The Souper Bowl of Caring is a national initiative that encourages communities to help those in need in the days and weeks before the Super Bowl. Brownwood’s Kroger location has been participating for years, and Kroger shoppers can donate a bag of food or make a monetary donation at the register from now until Super Bowl Sunday.
    “It’s our way to show the community our associates really do care about the area,” McGlaughlin said. “We want to go out with a splash.”
    The Souper Bowl of Caring begins Thursday, Jan. 17 and runs through Super Bowl Sunday — Feb. 4.
    When the event begins, boxes will be available that are packed with spaghetti and sauce, peanut butter and four cans of vegetables. A shopper can take a box of groceries to the register, and the cashier will ring up a purchase of $5.67 per box. After the customer pays for the groceries, the box will be placed in a bin to await distribution to Good Samaritan.
    “Our associates are fired up about it,” McLaughlin said.
    Kroger company officials in the Dallas division have set a goal for the Brownwood store of raising $8,500, but employees actually hope to triple that amount, McLaughlin said.
    It’s sad the Kroger family will no longer be together, but they want to “show how big our heart really is” in the Souper Bowl for Caring campaign, McLaughlin said.