Jason McLaughlin, manager of the Kroger store in Brownwood, issued a written statement Thursday morning as Good Samaritan Ministries representatives prepared to pick up the boxes of groceries from the first day of the Souper Bowl of Caring campaign.
    The Kroger store will close permanently on March 6.
    McLaughlin said in the statement:
    This is the 10th year in which Kroger has participated in the Souper Bowl of Caring. We look forward to this event easy year, but this year will be the one we, and hopefully our community, will remember the most.
    It is an extremely sad time for our 61 associates, and for this community. When the news came that our store would be losing, our whole team was unsure about the Souper Bowl of Caring campaign and how we could possibly perform as well as we have in the past.
    After a few days had gone by, our associates came together and decided that our Souper Bowl of Caring event was the perfect way to show our gratitude to our community, have some fun and spendK a little more time with the people who mean so much to us: our loyal shoppers, and each other.
    I have always believed that this Kroger store has the most loyal and best shoppers in this state. But I know for a fact that this Kroger store has the greatest and most friendly employees that you will ever find in a grocery store. I feel like the Souper Bowl of Caring event has come at the perfect time, because it has given this team something positive to be a part of, while we go through all the emotions that are associated with our store closing.
    We are hoping that we can leave behind a legacy of excellence in our shoppers’ experiences with us, and a donation that will be around this area long after we have left.