At RVA to Go, we are proud supporters of the United States Armed Forces. Growing up with family members reminiscing about their service in World War II, we have always been aware of how hard our servicemen and women work to defend us. As a result, we decided to create a program to give back.
You can now send a specially-designed RVA to Go box to a soldier overseas. We're calling it a "Support Our Troops" box. If you know a soldier posted abroad, order a Support Our Troops box and put in his/her name and address. If you do not know someone but want to send a care package anyway, just write “Any Soldier” in the To line and “Any Soldier Lane” as the shipping address. We’ll take it from there.
Sending to “Any Soldier”
Like ‘Letters to Santa,’ you used to be able to send a care package to ‘Any Soldier’ by labeling the box as such. The military would disperse the boxes accordingly. However, in 2003, for safety reasons, the Department of Defense released a notice in their postal guide saying:
Bummer! Luckily, hundreds of military unit leaders have agreed to participate in gift-giving! We send the packages directly to them, and they disperse them to the folks in their unit who have not gotten a care package in a while. So, you CAN order one of our Support Our Troops boxes and put “Any Soldier,” and we’ll take care of the rest.
What’s In the Box?
Our ‘Support Our Troops’ boxes are specially designed with the troops in mind. The military and post office have a million rules about what can and cannot be sent; moreover, the troops themselves have provided insights into what they need (and do not need!) Troops often do not have proper kitchens, so the items we send are ready to eat. They also often ask for multiple or batches of the same item since they share with an entire unit, not just one person. Moreover, we have to be careful with snacks that might melt given the temperatures in places like Afghanistan and the Gulf. We selected the items carefully to ensure they include what troops actually want and to ensure they can survive the often long and hot journey.
With those restrictions in mind, we have created two options for the Support Our Troops boxes. Our smaller 5-item box includes Carriage House Cheese Straws, Ames' Hot Southern Honey, a Virginia is for Lovers Red Water Bottle, Whitley's "We're Proud of our Troops!" Virginia Peanuts, and Agriberry Agriblend Jam. If you send a 7-item box, we’ll throw in coffee and tea for the whole unit with Rostov's Richmond Blend Tea and Blanchard's RVA Blend Coffee. These items travel well, are heat-tolerant, last a long time, and can be shared with the whole crew.
We’re releasing this program now in honor of Veterans’ Day, but it is available year-round. Consider joining us to give a little RVA-style support to some of our nation’s most courageous any time you get the inkling.
Note: We are not a non-profit organization, so Support Our Troops box purchases are not eligible for a tax exemption.
Where did Ukrop's start?
In 1937, 22-year-old Joe Ukrop and his father opened Ukrop’s Market on Hull Street in south Richmond after mortgaging their family farm. It truly was a family effort. Joe Ukrop, his wife, and his two sons cared for the business, which eventually grew into a chain of 25 locations throughout Central Virginia.
Ukrop's Super Markets became a household name due to their impeccable customer service and a passion for the Richmond community. In fact, Ukrop's was the first chain to have workers walk customers to their cars with their groceries. Seem normal now? It wasn't then! Also, Ukrop's was closed on Sundays to promote having a day to be with your family and with your community. For years they did not carry alcohol to make sure the store was family-friendly and community-oriented. We at RVA to Go always valued Ukrop's dedication to their values even in business and serving the RVA community in their own way.
By the 1970s, business was booming. In 1976, Ukrop's Super Markets purchased Dot's Pastry Shop, a bakery headquartered in Richmond. After this purchase, Ukrop's gave people in the local area wider access to baked goods like cakes, cookies, pies, and more. These delicious treats are still available today and a few can even be bought in RVA to Go boxes.
In 1984, White House Rolls reached the market. People in the area simply could not get enough. In the early 1990s, Ukrop's opened a production facility with a full kitchen and bakery to keep up with the high demand for their prepared meals and treats.
In 2010, the Ukrop's family decided that retail was no longer what the business needed. They decided to sell their retail locations yet keep the Homestyle Foods business intact. The bakery and kitchen still provide over 800 freshly-made meals, sides, desserts, and more to grocery stores throughout the nation. But no one walks you to your car anymore!
Where are they today?
The Ukrop's family decided to leave the retail business due to the competitive nature of the grocery store market. They knew if they expanded their hours and selection of products - for example, by serving alcohol - they would be better competitors; however, they felt retaining their values and traditions was more important than competing nationally.
The Ukrop's family continues to engage in the RVA community and provide people in the local area with freshly-made meals with compassion and they are an RVA staple that we love.
Where can I buy my favorite Ukrop's products?
Kroger! Ukrop's baked goods, including some of our favorites, are there. If you want to give a few Ukrop's staples as a gift, we have three choices in our RVA to Go Box: Rainbow Cookies, Butter Cookies, and White House Rolls. You can add them to your next RVA to Go order. YUM!