Hatching an Idea to Fight Hunger

by Howard Greninger | Feb 15, 2016
An egg provides a child half of the daily requirement of protein and 10 percent of the daily need of Vitamin D — and prevents muscle loss in older adults. Knowing that one in six Hoosiers is food insecure, Elanco Animal Health, a division of Eli Lilly & Co., last year launched HATCH for Hunger, a program to provide eggs to the undernourished.

It began in 65 Kroger stores in the Indianapolis area, said Becky Fouard, Elanco spokeswoman. The program generated a half million eggs given to more than 43,000 families across the Midwest.

To fund the purchase of the eggs, Kroger patrons obtain a HATCH swipe card at the checkout. The shopper simply swipes the card to donate $1 while checking out. Each swipe is a $1 donation.

On Friday, HATCH launched in the Wabash Valley through the efforts of Kroger and Rose Acre Farms, as Kroger expanded the program to 136 Kroger stores across the Midwest.

The program allows Elanco to buy a dozen eggs for $1, a discounted rate from Rose Acre Farms. Kroger then delivers the eggs to Feed America food banks. In the Wabash Valley, Catholic Charities is the Feed America food bank.

“In the course of a week, before this, we might get maybe eight to 12 dozens, through a normal retail store pickup whether it is Kroger or Meijer or Wal-Mart. What makes HATCH so significant is this will go so much further,” said John Etling, director of Terre Haute Catholic Charities Foodbank. 

On Friday, the foodbank received a truck load of 900 dozen, or 10,800, eggs to kick off the program from a delivery made to Kroger’s Wabash Avenue store in Terre Haute.

“We are hoping that through people doing a point-of-sale donation ... to double that,” Etling said of the egg distribution to the foodbank, which serves Vigo, Clay, Parke, Sullivan, Vermillion, Greene and Knox counties.

In addition to using the swipe card, other ways to donate to the HATCH program include using a smartphone and text HATCH to 52000. A return text will provide instructions on how to donate $5. Additionally, visit to donate a minimum of $25. At that site, a person can also set up a monthly amount to contribute to the HATCH program.

Information about the HATCH program on Twitter can be found at #HATCHforHunger.

“We have been at hunger relief for 133 years. This is not a short term problem that is going away,” said John Elliott, Kroger spokesman. “Unfortunately the need for Catholic Charities and the many Feeding America food banks is still there and the food pantries they support in local neighborhoods. We see the gaps that HATCH will help fill,” Elliott said.

“My hope is other Kroger operating divisions will see not just the value and need of eggs, but the value of the HATCH program,” he said. Kroger will match HATCH’s effort with $50,000 throughout Kroger’s central division, Elliott added.

Jimmy Owens, director of global strategy and operations for Elanco, said the company works with customers such as Rose Acres Farms to find new and innovative ways to address food security. “There are over 23 million Americans who live in a ‘food desert,’ where they cannot get to a grocery store or cannot get transportation to one,” Owens said. “Kroger is helping to raise funds for HATCH.”

The supply of eggs comes from Seymour-headquartered Rose Acre Farms, which is is the second-largest U.S. egg producer. It currently operates in seven states, with a facility in Texas just opening and another in Arizona to be built, said Katie Schlosser, communications coordinator for Rose Acre Farms. The company produces more than 19 million eggs daily.

“Eggs are an ideal choice for a nutritious diet and they are a prized item for food banks,” Schlosser said. “Eggs provide 13 essential vitamins and nutrients all at only 70 calories per large egg,” she said. “One large egg will provide 6 grams of protein, which is half the daily protein a child needs in their diet. And diets rich in high-quality protein like eggs have been proven to improve appetite control and promote body weight management for all ages.

“There is great need for high-quality protein foods for families facing food insecurity, and we are proud to be taking steps to fulfill this need as well as alleviate hunger throughout Indiana and the Midwest. With the help of consumer donations in Kroger stores and [donations] online, Rose Acre Farms is committed to HATCH to buying much-0needed eggs for food banks in your community,” Schlosser said.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached 812-231-4204 or Follow on Twitter@TribStarHoward.

Rose AcreTM Recipe of the Month

Saint Nick's Eggnog

  • 6 large EGGS
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 4 cups whole milk, divided
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 12 cinnamon sticks for garnish
  1. BEAT eggs, sugar and salt in large heavy saucepan until blended. STIR IN 2 cups milk.
  2. COOK over low heat, stirring constantly but gently, until mixture is just thick enough to just coat a metal spoon with a thin film and temperature reaches 160°F, about 15 minutes. Do not allow to boil. REMOVE from heat immediately.
  3. STIR IN remaining 2 cups milk and vanilla. REFRIGERATE, covered, until thoroughly chilled, several hours or overnight. 
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