For the fifth year in a row, Walmart is partnering with the Today Show for the “Getting to the Heart of Christmas” series that brings a holiday surprise to three groups.

Helping a Hero from the Colorado Mudslides

Dec. 23, 2013

John Pellouchoud is one of Boulder, CO’s true heroes. As a volunteer fireman, he’s been a professional rescuer his entire life . At the age of fourteen he was involved in an canoe accident with three friends, one of whom died despite John’s efforts to save him. He has since dedicated his entire life to helping others, and now he needs help. John was a victim of a horrific mudslide in Boulder comprised of car-sized boulders, fully-grown trees and a twenty to thirty foot wall of mud. He lost almost everything.

Being a rescuer runs in the family.  John’s 19-year old daughter, who is currently in college, is also planning to be a rescuer. With her help, we were able to surprise John with much of what was lost – from clothes, to his tools (critical to his rescuing efforts) and more.

Getting to the Heart of Christmas in Boulder, Colorado with The TODAY Show

Delivering the Holidays to The Empowerment Plan

Dec. 20, 2013

The Empowerment Plan in Detroit, MI aims to help build a better life for those who have become trapped in the cycle of homelessness. The plan gives single mothers in homeless shelters jobs so that they can earn money, find a place to live, and gain back their independence for themselves and for their families. The segment focuses on the stories of a group of women who are part of the program.  Walmart surprised them with items that will help the women in their renewed independence – items to help them complete their new homes and other basic necessities.  We also provided each family with gifts so they can have their own Christmas celebrations along with items for The Empowerment Plan to continue on their mission.


Getting to the Heart of Christmas at The Empowerment Plan in Detroit, Michigan with The TODAY Show

Bringing Holiday Hope to New Hope

Dec. 13, 2013

New Hope is an organization that serves children who have one or both parents in prison. In the state with the highest percentage of women in prison, their mission is to break the cycle of generational incarceration, one child at a time. The children in this program range from 5 – 18. Walmart brought the holidays to these children. We surprised each of the 200 children with gifts from their personal Christmas wish list, clothing essentials, coats and groceries.  We also surprised the organization with supplies to assist with program activities - including various art supplies, sporting equipment and camping supplies. In addition, New Hope received 25 tablets and computers to help students with their homework as previously, volunteers of the program were lending their personal computers.

Getting to the Heart of Christmas at New Hope in Tulsa, Oklahoma with The TODAY Show