On Armed Forces Day this past Saturday, Kent’s Market in Plain City demonstrated incredible support for military families by partnering with Operation Homefront for an extraordinary event. In a heartwarming display of community and generosity, more than 400 military families were served, receiving roughly $600 worth of groceries each. This event, totaling close to $250,000 in donations, is an amazing reflection of Kent’s commitment to supporting those who serve in the military.

“This was an event beyond all events. Every family walked away with a literal ‘haul’ of groceries, and we were thrilled to give back to those who give so much,” said Kati Calhoun, executive director of marketing for Kent’s. “Military families move a lot, and this helps relieve some of that stress. It’s not only about providing for their needs; it’s also about the community wrapping its arms around our military members. They wear that uniform and protect our communities and it’s our honor to support them in return.”

From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the parking lot of Kent’s Market transformed into a bustling hub of activity and gratitude. Military service men and women, many from lower-income ranks and recently stationed in Utah, were greeted with open arms and ample provisions. Each family received an impressive array of groceries, including 16 cases of beverages and water, cleaning supplies, 10-12 sacks of groceries, bags of breads and pastries, and fresh produce like apples, potatoes, onions, and oranges. The generosity extended further with cases of Chobani yogurt and various other essentials.

“One particularly emotional moment for me came from a mother who, through tears, expressed her deep relief and gratitude,” said Derid Kunz, director of center store sales and primary AFS touchpoint for the event. “She said she had been uncertain about how she would feed her family for the next two weeks and was overwhelmed by the generosity.”

The support did not end with groceries. Each family was also treated to a barbecue meal, courtesy of Kent’s, which had spent the previous four days meticulously setting up for the event. Additionally, families received $50 gift cards to return and shop at Kent’s, ensuring continued support beyond the event itself.

“Many representatives from Operation Homefront, Hill Air Force Base, 26 different vendors, many AFS team members, and guests who shopped at Kent’s that morning jumped in to help hand out bags of groceries and fill every truck, car trunk and minivan with so much product that could possibly be fit including back and side passenger seats,” said Derid. “My appreciation to all our AFS vendors who sacrificed a Saturday away from their families to give back to those military families that give so much on our behalf to protect and defend this country. It’s the kind of event that defines what our grocery business is all about and how each one of our retailers serve their individual communities.”

Along with Derid, team members David Rice, Justin Atwater, Tim Conner, Glen Keysaw, April Rice, David Panter, Todd Bell, Allen Christensen, Jessica Cronin, Alice Grace, Denice Ward, Lori Peterson, Toby Strate, Chad Christensen and others participated.

Prize giveaways added to the festive atmosphere, with families winning items such as hunting equipment, sporting goods, propane fire pits, camp chairs and more. The children were particularly delighted by the presence of mascots from the Real Salt Lake and Utah Jazz, who handed out shirts, caps, cookies, and snacks, while entertaining the crowd.

This memorable, annual event encapsulates the spirit of Kent’s Market, Associated Food Stores and its tremendous partners who are dedicated to serving the community.