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Kroger Starts a COVID-19 Relief Fund While Paying Back Half of Its $1 Billion March Loans

By Rhian Hunt – Apr 21, 2020 at 4:09PM

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The retailer appears financially stable despite the coronavirus outbreak.

Major grocery and drugstore chain Kroger (KR 1.31%) has started a special COVID-19 Response Fund as the latest among its Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation charitable programs. The fund gathers money and then distributes it to both national and local hunger relief organizations. The COVID-19 Response Fund will donate specifically to those groups aiding families in need because of the pandemic.

The company's COVID-19 Response Fund has already donated $6 million to such causes, but aims to provide at least $4 million more, with a goal of giving $10 million. Kroger customers can contribute online or through special arrangements at the stores' checkout lines.

A customer checking out at a grocery store.

Image source: Getty Images.

When the cashier is ringing up a purchase, customers can choose to have sums rounded up to the nearest dollar with the extra cents going to the Fund, or to tack $1, $5, or $10 directly onto their total. Kroger group VP of corporate affairs Keith Dailey noted the "overwhelming outreach from our partners and customers who want to support our mission."

Continuing to pay its workers a $2 per hour "hero bonus" through the end of the month, and with money to spare for charitable donations, Kroger appears to be navigating the COVID-19 outbreak without significant difficulties. The company says its free cash flow is "strong."

Today, it filed a prospectus with the SEC, reporting that while it drew down $1 billion from its available $2.75 billion revolving credit facility on March 18 as "a precautionary measure in order to preserve financial flexibility," it repaid $500 million of that borrowing yesterday, April 20.

Rhian Hunt has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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