Customers of Smith's Food & Drug in seven Western states donated more than 100,000 meals — 58,000 meals in Utah alone — to the hungry and homeless during the 2007 holiday season.

Smith's "Gift of Giving" holiday food-drive program in Utah collected 31,093 pounds of food, including 2,746 individual canned items and 2,972 turkeys that were donated to the Utah Food Bank between Nov. 4 and Dec. 29.

Smith's customers could donate either a $7 virtual gift bag full of canned food items or purchase a holiday turkey for $10. Smith's collected the items and delivered them to the Utah Food Bank by caseload for distribution throughout the statewide network of pantries.

Marsha Gilford, Smith's vice president public affairs, said the food store chain's commitment to helping all home communities deal with hunger is actually a year-round effort. Gift of Giving highlights the support that's needed as well as shows how generous Smith's customers are, she said, noting that holiday donations have doubled since the campaign began in 2004.

Smith's operates 133 stores in seven Western states, including the 47 in Utah. Smith's is a division of the Kroger Co., one of the nation's largest retailers. Kroger was cited as America's Second Harvest's Retailer of the Year.

Smith's charitable program, along with 13,000 associates, donated $6.4 million in cash and food products to local organizations in 2006.