Phoenix, Ariz., Aug. 17, 2005 – Wal-Mart announced today it will donate $200,000 to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) and host a national child identification day as the company enhances its commitment to a program that has already united 134 missing children with their families.
Since 1996, Wal-Mart and NCMEC have partnered together in programs such as the Missing Children’s Network bulletin boards in all 3,700 Wal-Mart stores, SAM’S CLUBS and distribution centers. The company has invested more than $1 million in its efforts to help NCMEC find missing children.
“With more than 130 million customers visiting Wal-Mart stores and SAM’S CLUB locations each week, we’re in a unique position to help,” said Tom Montgomery of the Wal-Mart & SAM’S CLUB Foundation. “There is a Wal-Mart or SAM’S CLUB in just about every community in the United States where customers can see the names and photos of missing children.”
Through the Missing Children’s Network, photos and descriptions of missing children are sent electronically from NCMEC to Wal-Mart’s home office. From there the photos are sent directly to stores either nationally or to regions where it is believed by authorities a missing child could be. Associates place the photos on bulletin boards located at the store entrances. “We are able to capture the eyes and attention millions to aid in the recovery of these children,” Montgomery added.
Customers who recognize a child are urged to call 1-800-THE LOST (1-800-843-5678) or the local law enforcement agency.
Because updated photos and descriptions are critical to the recovery of missing children, Wal-Mart and NCMEC will partner with Abbotts Ross Products Division, the makers of infant nutritional products such as Similac, to provide free child identification kits to parents at Wal-Mart stores during the Labor Day weekend on Sept. 3 and online at www.walmart.com.
“Nearly 7,000 children have been featured on Wal-Mart bulletin boards – 5,300 of whom have been recovered,” said Ernie Allen, NCMEC president and CEO. “We know that 134 children were recovered after callers to 1-800-THE LOST specifically stated they recognized a child’s photo on a Wal-Mart or SAM’S CLUB board,” said Allen.
The Wal-Mart Missing Children Network bulletin board program is one of several activities. Wal-Mart also displays Missing Children Alerts and photos over the in-store Wal-Mart TV Network. The company also distributes posters throughout each store location to hospitals, schools and community groups.
Wal-Mart’s Montgomery said the company continues to work on new tools in the fight for missing children. “Wal-Mart has invested more than $1 million in helping this cause, and we will have more to announce this year as we continue to work with NCMEC,” he stated.
About National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
Alexandria, Virginia-based National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) is a 501(c)(3), nonprofit organization, which serves as a national clearinghouse for information and resource for child protection. It works in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justices Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. NCMEC’s congressionally mandated CyberTipline, a reporting mechanism for child sexual exploitation, has handled more than 335,000 leads. Since its establishment in 1984, NCMEC has assisted law enforcement with more than 116,500 missing child cases, resulting in the recovery of more than 94,500 children. For more information about NCMEC, please visit www.missingkids.com or call 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).
About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and SAMS CLUBS in all 50 states. Internationally, the company operates in Puerto Rico, Canada, China, Mexico, Brazil, Germany, United Kingdom, Argentina, and South Korea. The companys securities are listed on the New York and Pacific stock exchanges under the symbol WMT.
About Wal-Mart & SAM’S CLUB Foundation
Last year, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., contributed more than $170 million in cash donations to support local communities and nonprofit organizations. More information about Wal-Mart’s charitable giving can be located online at www.walmartfoundation.org.
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