(Kansas City, Mo., April 19, 2004) - The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States announced today that Wal-Mart/SAM’s CLUB Foundation has committed a $1 million matching gift to the VFW Foundation. The gift will support the VFW’s efforts to assist members of America’s military, veterans and their families. The generous pledge will allow the organization to meet the monumental demand for services as the nation continues its global war on terrorism.
"Today, as America’s sons and daughters fight for freedom worldwide, the need for VFW services and programs has risen dramatically, and the organization is working diligently to meet these challenges," said John J. Senk Jr., VFW adjutant general. "Thousands of servicemembers and veterans are turning to the VFW for assistance, and we have a responsibility - an obligation - to say ’yes.’ Wal-Mart has proven itself to be a patriotic organization that understands these dramatic needs and is committed to encouraging all Americans to stand up in support of them."
Wal-Mart/SAM’S CLUB has pledged to match all donations made to a special VFW public request between now and Independence Day, up to $1 million. The company hopes to help the VFW generate much-needed support for key veteran services programs, including financial assistance for unmet needs of servicemembers and veterans.
If you would like to make a donation to be matched by Wal-Mart, visit www.vfw.org or call 816-756-3390, extension 527. You can mail your gift to: VFW, 406 West 34th Street, Suite 718, Kansas City, MO 64111, ATTN: Wal-Mart Matching Gift Program.
"The scars of war often linger well beyond their time of duty," Senk said. "As veterans, we know what our newest veterans are experiencing and the difficulties that lie ahead."
According to Senk, since the war on terrorism began, the VFW has seen a sharp increase in demand for all services including helping more recently discharged servicemembers file more VA claims. "The VFW has established offices at some 10 military bases worldwide as part of its Benefits Discharge at Delivery Program (BDD)," said Senk. "This additional funding is sorely needed to establish additional veterans’ service offices at other military bases to serve the influx of new veterans."
In addition, both organizations recognize the need to strengthen VFW community efforts that help those serving this country and their families, particularly families of National Guard and Reserve members who have been called into action.
"There are also critical ’unmet’ needs as a result of the war," said Senk. "Military personnel who have suffered injury or wounds will have special needs for many years to come. These funds will make it easier to be ready to help them when that time arrives.
This gift is Wal-Mart’s way of continuing to thank our servicemembers - past and present - for all they do and for the sacrifices they have made in defending freedom," explains Betsy Reithemeyer, director of the Wal-Mart/SAM’S CLUB Foundation and vice president of corporate affairs for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Wal-Mart and its affiliates are the leading corporate partners of the VFW and the VFW Foundation. Over the past three years, Wal-Mart has donated more than two million phone cards to Operation Uplink to help servicemembers and veterans connect with loved ones back home. In addition, messages of support have been collected at Wal-Mart stores across the nation and delivered to American troops worldwide.
"Wal-Mart has been a prodigious supporter of the VFW and local communities in helping us reach out and assist those in need by continuing to deliver vital services to those who need it most," Senk said.
The VFW assists all veterans and their families in obtaining veterans’ entitlements and other services. In addition, the organization works for the wellbeing of those serving on active duty, and the National Guard and Reserves. The VFW was founded in 1899. There are 2.6 million members of the VFW and the Ladies Auxiliary VFW located in approximately 9,000 Posts worldwide.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., operates Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and SAM’S CLUBS in all fifty states. Internationally, the company operates in Puerto Rico, Canada, China, Mexico, Brazil, Germany, United Kingdom, Argentina and South Korea. The company’s securities are listed on the New York and Pacific stock exchanges under the symbol WMT. Last year, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., contributed more than $160 million to support communities and local non-profit organizations. Customers and associates raised an additional $70 million at stores and clubs.