North Pole, Alaska (Nov. 29, 2006) – This year, before Santa makes his list and checks it twice, he’ll bring in his top “advisers” to the North Pole for the first-ever “Top of the World” Toy Summit. According to insiders, Santa’s “nice” list is longer this year. With so many good children, America Supports You and Operation Homefront, with the generous support of Wal-Mart, are facilitating this “meeting-of-the-minds,” which brings together Wal-Mart toy guru Scott McCall, National Weather Service expert Kelly Songster and children of military families to serve as toy testers and Ambassadors of Fun to help strategize for the holiday season. The “Top of the World” Toy Summit allows military children and their families to experience an extra-special Christmas with laughter and fun.
“It is an honor to be invited to the Toy Summit and to work alongside the military kids from around the country,” said Scott McCall, vice president and divisional merchandise manager – or Chief Toy Officer – from Wal-Mart. “Their insights and feedback will help us make sure Santa has the toys he needs to give kids across the globe a bright Christmas.”
For the past eight years, Wal-Mart has been working to understand and address the unmet needs of America’s military and their families by developing programs to help children deal with the stress of military life, donating pre-paid phone cards to deployed troops and hosting morale-boosting message boards in-store. The partnership with Operation Homefront is an extension of that ongoing commitment to the U.S. military. To get a head start in Alaska, Wal-Mart is working with Operation Homefront to help Santa make deliveries to military bases near his North Pole workshop. In addition, Wal-Mart is generously donating more than 2,000 toys and gift cards for military children in nearby Alaska.
“We specially selected military families from across the United States to participate in this one-of-a-kind event and are thrilled to be bringing an extra-special Christmas experience to these deserving children,” said Meredith Leyva, Chairman Emeritus and Chief Creative Officer of Operation Homefront.
This year’s long list of nice children gives Wal-Mart and its military partners an even bigger incentive to spread holiday cheer. In fact, a recent survey on naughty-and-nice-behavior showed nearly half of parents (45 percent) say their children’s current behavior is nice during the holiday season. However, less than twenty-five percent (22 percent) of parents said that their children will “step-up” to their nicest behavior between Thanksgiving and Christmas day. That’s why during the Summit, the attending military children will sign a “Declaration of Nice” to commit to being on their best behavior this Christmas season to set an example for children all over the world.
Today’s Summit agenda features Wal-Mart’s resident toy expert, Scott McCall, providing insights on the season’s hottest toys, and to Santa’s relief, the coolest prices. A specialist on toy logistics, McCall also advised Santa on proper inventory protocol to make sure all deserving children wake up Christmas morning with their most-requested gifts beneath the tree.
In addition to McCall, Santa also invited winter weather advisor, Kelly Songster to help predict Christmas weather patterns to help guide Santa’s famous reindeer. Songster, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in nearby Fairbanks, shared tips on weather and recommend the best routes for Santa to safely travel across the globe.
About Operation Homefront
What is today Operation Homefront began in 2001 as a military spouse-generated idea. In response to the shortcoming of support for the families of deployed service members, CinCHouse.com members (military wives and women in uniform) created the project that has evolved into a major nonprofit charity serving 26 military communities in 25 states. Today CinCHouse.com operates as a program as part of the nonprofit Operation Homefront family. From a good idea, to a great organization, Operation Homefront understands and takes care of the needs of the military community.
About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Every week, more than 176 million customers visit Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, Sam’s Clubs or a subsidiary location in 13 countries around the world. In each of the countries where Wal-Mart operates, the company and its Foundation are committed to a philosophy of operating globally and giving back locally.
Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) is proud to support the causes that are important to customers and associates right in their own neighborhoods, and last year gave more than $270 million to local communities. To learn more, visit www.walmartfacts.com, www.walmart.com or www.walmartfoundation.org.
About America Supports You:
America Supports You is an ongoing nationwide program that helps showcase American’s support for the men and women of the Armed Forces. Since its launch in November of 2004 by the Department of Defense, America Supports You has welcomed 225 member organizations and more than 20 corporate sponsors to its team. Many America Supports You team members support the troops by writing letters, sending care packages, helping the wounded when they return home, assisting military families, sending e-mails or simply extending kind gestures to the troops. To learn more about how you can support military personnel please visit www.americasupportsyou.mil.