“Walmart Gives Back” Initiative Provides Toys and Books for 10,000 Military Children in Top Markets for Troop Deployment
Fort Bragg, N.C. Dec. 4, 2009 – Walmart gives an early Christmas to more than 10,000 military children and families who will receive free toys, books, Walmart gift cards and gift packages. Through a $1.1 million donation from Walmart, the initiative will benefit families in all branches of the military. The company will also lay 16,000 wreaths at national cemeteries across the United States to honor fallen veterans.
Representatives from Operation Homefront and Wreaths Across America joined Walmart in Fort Bragg, N.C. today to launch the program, part of “Walmart Gives Back,” a holiday giving initiative focused on hunger relief and support for military families.
“Walmart has a history of supporting our troops. This holiday season, we recognize the sacrifices of our deployed servicemen and women – and their families back at home,” said Margaret McKenna, president of the Walmart Foundation. “We know that many military families have a tough time during the holidays. They miss their loved ones who are away, and we hope that our efforts will make their holiday easier and better.”
More than 300 associates from Walmart and Sam’s Club locations nationwide will help organize toys and assist participants at each event.
Supporting Military Families
Spouses of deployed military personnel will shop for free today at Operation Homefront toy shops near Fort Hood and Fort Bliss in Texas; Fort Bragg, N.C.; Fort Campbell, Ky.; Fort Stewart, Ga.; and Camp Pendleton, Calif. – markets that top the Pentagon’s list of cities with the highest troop deployment. With toys and books donated from Walmart, the shops will serve more than 3,000 military moms and dads with 10,000 military children, combined.
“This has been an especially difficult year for our military families and their children. They’re not only dealing with deployments but also the economic recession,” said Operation Homefront chief executive officer, Jim Knotts. “Through the generosity of Walmart, these donated toys and books will allow the military families to provide a happy holiday for their children while using their limited resources on the vital basic needs.”
In addition, Walmart gift cards will be given to more than 1,500 military families in 30 cities and 1,000 gift packages will be given to the caregivers of wounded military – all made possible through Walmart’s donation to Operation Homefront.
Honoring our Nation’s Veterans
Walmart’s military support this holiday season will also help Wreaths Across America purchase, transport and lay 16,000 wreaths at national cemeteries and memorial sites across the United States, including “a mile of memories'' wreath display at Battery Park to honor 9/11 victims and veterans from the New York area, Arlington National Cemetery, the Pentagon, Fayetteville National Cemetery in Fayetteville, Ark. and the site of the Flight 93 crash in Shanksville, Penn.
“Our mission is to remember the fallen, honor those who serve and teach our children the value of freedom,” said Karen Worcester, executive director of Wreaths Across America. “This is the second year that Walmart has generously donated wreaths, trucks, and resources – and we are proud to work with Walmart to show our gratitude to those who served and sacrificed.”
For more information on “Walmart Gives Back,” visit www.walmartgiving.com.
About Philanthropy at Walmart
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are proud to support the charitable causes that are important to customers and associates in their own neighborhoods. Through its philanthropic programs and partnerships, the Walmart Foundation funds initiatives focused on creating opportunities in education, workforce development, economic opportunity, environmental sustainability, and health and wellness. From February 1, 2008 through January 31, 2009, Walmart – and its domestic and international foundations – gave more than $423 million in cash and in-kind gifts globally. To learn more, visit www.walmartfoundation.org.
About Operation Homefront
Operation Homefront provides emergency assistance for our troops, the families they leave behind and for wounded warriors when they return home. A national nonprofit, Operation Homefront leads more than 4,500 volunteers in 30 chapters nationwide, and has met more than 105,000 needs since 2002. Operation Homefront is a four-star rated charity by watchdog Charity Navigator. Nationally, $.92 of every dollar donated to Operation Homefront goes to programs. For more information about Operation Homefront, please visit www.operationhomefront.net.
About Wreaths Across America
Wreaths Across America began in 2006 as an offshoot of the Arlington National Cemetery wreath project, which was started in 1992 with the annual placement of wreaths donated by Worcester Wreath Co. Today, it is a monumental initiative, with partners like Walmart, Civil Air Patrol, the Patriot Guard Riders, the Maine State Society of Washington, D.C., and other veterans’ groups participating, not to mention the tens of thousands of private citizens who sponsor wreaths for the wreath-laying ceremonies. For more information visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.