BENTONVILLE, Ark., August 20, 2007 – Wal-Mart today announced its plan to turn a portion of nearly one million retired associate vests into greeting cards for troops serving overseas and lap blankets for wounded service members. These projects, which are consistent with its goal of creating zero waste and in continuation of its long-time support for U.S. troops, were formally announced today during the kick-off of the 2007 VFW Convention in Kansas City.
“For more than a decade, we have worked with Wal-Mart to identify and respond to the unmet needs of our U.S. soldiers,” said Mike Gormalley, senior director of the VFW Foundation. “When Wal-Mart approached us about the vests recycling project, we were happy to work together for the benefit of our troops currently serving as well as veterans who’ve served our country.”
Earlier this year when the company made changes to the dress code in all its U.S. Wal-Mart and Neighborhood Market Stores, Wal-Mart reached out to the VFW to identify recycling projects for the retired vests to serve the needs of military members. Two key projects emerged from the VFW’s input:
• Greeting Cards – In partnership with recycling company Sustainable Solutions, Inc. and Hallmark, Wal-Mart is recycling a portion of its retired vests into greeting cards for troops serving overseas. The cards, which will be distributed by the VFW as part of its “Adopt a Unit” holiday program, enable troops serving away from their families to send greeting cards to their loved ones in time for the holidays. Cards will be tinted “Wal-Mart blue” and will be sent to troops with a note thanking them for their service. In total, this project enables troops to send out 100,000 recycled holiday greeting and “thinking of you” cards.
• Lap Blankets – Nearly 30,000 vests will be recycled into 5,000 lap blankets for injured soldiers returning from war zones and for other veterans at VA hospitals and homes. The blankets will be distributed by the VFW in conjunction with Veteran’s Day in November.
“We are very proud to have the opportunity to help meet some of the needs that our brave service men and women are facing,” said Ray Bracy, senior vice president of Corporate Affairs for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. “We recognize their tremendous sacrifices and feel honored to give a little something back.”
Wal-Mart will continue to work with the VFW to evaluate additional opportunities to recycle its nearly one million retired vests. Within one year, the retailer hopes that all vests will be recycled.
Supporting the Military
Wal-Mart has a long history of supporting America’s troops and veterans. Here are some highlights of the company’s most recent military support:
• Keeping families connected – Through a nearly $1.5 million donation, the Wal-Mart Foundation partnered with Sesame Workshop, the organization behind Sesame Street, to develop bilingual (English/Spanish) outreach kits to help young children of the U.S. Armed Services, National Guard and Reserves deal with the various stresses of military life. In addition, during the Christmas season 2006, Wal-Mart partnered with Operation Homefront to visit six military bases and throw holiday parties for military families, giving away $500,000 in toys, cash and gift cards.
• Providing more than $1.6 million to support local veterans’ organizations – In 2006, local Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club locations awarded more than $1.6 million in grants to community veterans’ organizations.
• Supporting wounded warriors – Through financial support to the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), Wal-Mart is helping to facilitate accessible recreation for paralyzed veterans, their families and others with disabilities.
• Helping boost the morale of deployed military members – As a member of the “America Supports You” team, Wal-Mart is an active participant in a campaign that reaches Americans at home and military personnel around the world. The “America Supports You” initiative, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense, highlights the support and gratitude extended to the brave men and women serving in harms way. For more information, visit www.americasupportsyou.com.
• In-store/in-club support – Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club partners with Kodak and the VFW each Veteran’s Day in more than 4,000 stores and clubs nationwide. Customers and associates are invited to post photographs of local soldiers on a “Wall of Honor,” as well as to write notes of gratitude to those serving overseas in an in-store or in-club message book.
For more information about Wal-Mart and its strong support of military efforts, please visit
About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT)
Every week, millions of customers visit Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, and Sam’s Club locations across America or log on to its online store at www.walmart.com. The company and its Foundation are committed to a philosophy of 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 in the United States. To learn more, visit www.walmartfacts.com, www.walmartstores.com, or www.walmartfoundation.org.